Thanks to our friends at Fort Bragg Advocate-News and The Mendocino Beacon for covering our 25th anniversary Chamber Event in this week’s paper! It was a great evening and one we will always remember.#25yearsstrong
Last week, Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) held a Chamber of Commerce mixer where employees and community members celebrated MCC’s being named the 2019 Large Employer of the Year; honored their founder, Paula Cohen; and shared the Congressional Record reading whereby MCC’s community contributions were made a permanent part of history to be housed in the Library of Congress. MCC Executive Director Lucresha Renteria said, “We’re honored to be recognized by the community we serve.”
This year marks MCC’s 25th anniversary. In the early 1990s, Mendocino County closed its outpatient clinics, so in July of 1994, Mendocino Coast Clinics became a private, not-for-profit health center dedicated to serving everyone in the community, regardless of their ability to pay. Renteria said, “People called us a fantasy clinic; they didn’t think we would last. Happily, they were wrong.”
Since then MCC has grown from 7 employees to 115, making them one of the largest employers in Fort Bragg. They have expanded from a single location to four locations, and last year they provided 9,800 patients with 46,000 healthcare appointments.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), they advocate for legislation that supports local patients, but they do not have any religious or political affiliation. They are governed locally with at least half of the board members also being patients. Renteria explained, “We are governed by people with a vested interest in maintaining the quality of care for everyone who comes through our doors. Having patients as board members also helps us be responsive to our community’s changing needs.”
For example, in 1997, when local dentists requested that MCC consider operating a dental clinic for Medi-Cal patients, they opened a dental clinic. A few years later, in 2005, they began providing obstetrical and gynecology care, including perinatal services, childbirth classes and breastfeeding support. When the opioid crisis hit, they opened a medically assisted treatment (MAT) program that has helped hundreds of patients better manage their substance use disorders, thereby allowing individuals and families to have a better quality of life. In 2010, when it was clear that teens and young adults needed a safe place to receive free, confidential and nonjudgmental reproductive health care, they opened Blue Door @ MCC. Last year, they opened the Family Wellness Center that offers nutritional consultations, depression screenings, acupuncture, post-partum screenings and more. And this month, they started once-a-week service called Open Door to serve the LGBTQ and sex positive community.
“We define health broadly and offer a wide variety of services that allow us to provide whole-person care, including medical, dental, behavioral health, and some specialty care such as chiropractic care and podiatry,” Renteria said. MCC has been an accredited Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) since 2015, which means they use a team-based approach that includes patients as part of the care team. PCMHs are recognized for build strong relationships between patients and their clinical care teams and typically demonstrate better quality, patient experience, and staff satisfaction as compared to non-PCMHs–all while reducing healthcare costs.
“We’re proud of our accomplishments because it means we’re helping people live healthier lives, from the most privileged to the most vulnerable. We enjoy collaborating with community partners and are incredibly grateful to our donors for their financial support. This is a generous community and we love taking good care of you,” Renteria said. “We look forward to providing excellent health care to meet our community’s needs for at least another 25 years.”