LifeLong News

"East Bay doctor weighs in on racial disparities, COVID-19", April 08, 2020

(Noelle Bellow, Kron4) Health officials are now starting to release more detailed information about COVID-19 cases and deaths, including racial demographics.

In many of the country’s hardest hit communities, like New York, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago, black residents are dying at a higher rate.

Here in California, the Department of Public Health sent out its expanded data and officials say it is roughly in line with the diversity of California overall.

The numbers sent out Wednesday are very preliminary and are reflective of less than 50% of Read more >>

"Alameda County Mobilizes to Get At-Risk Homeless Residents Into Hotels", April 03, 2020

(Erin Baldassari, KQED) In the span of nine days, public health officials in Alameda County went from negotiating a lease agreement with a hotelier in Oakland to housing their first guest on March 25 — a resident experiencing homelessness who was showing symptoms of COVID-19.

And on Wednesday, officials opened a second hotel in Oakland for homeless people who are considered at high-risk of complications if they contract the virus. They were the first two hotels leased under a state plan to provide a total of 15,000 hotel and motel rooms across California to address the coronavirus outbreak among homeless communities.

“While it’s true it took about nine or 10 days to bring the hotels on, they were 18-hour days,” said Kerry Abbott, director of the county’s Office of Homeless Care and Coordination.

It’s the kind of effort Gov. Gavin Newsom says can’t come soon enough, especially in light of the death of a homeless man in Santa Clara County last month and 14 confirmed cases of homeless people contracting the virus across the state – including one reported Thursday in San Francisco.

On Friday, Newsom announced the state had finalized leases for nearly 7,000 hotel and motel rooms throughout the state with an eventual goal of 15,000 rooms. As of Wednesday, San Francisco had around 1,000 hotel rooms available and had placed people in 123 of them. Santa Clara County has 172 Read more >>

Street Medicine Team


"Making a Difference on National Doctors’ Day", April 02, 2020

Dedicated to the philosophy of giving rather than receiving, the Summit and Alta Bates medical staffs are commemorating National Doctors’ Day—March 30—by making generous donations to help the community.

Each year, National Doctors’ Day celebrates the contributions of the physicians who serve America by caring for its citizens. Because we’re in a time of unprecedented and extraordinary challenges, the Summit and Alta Bates donations to the community they serve mean more than ever.

“Even though it’s nice to be recognized on Doctors’ Day, our medical staff decided to donate funds to support local causes on our day of national recognition,” says Jeff Chen, M.D., the Summit campus’ chief of staff, who works in emergency medicine.

“Our physicians are committed to giving back to our community. Now more than ever, we’re proud to support programs that help the homeless and other vulnerable populations in our community.”

The Summit medical staff donated funds to LifeLong Medical Care, the campus’ main community clinic partner serving the surrounding East Bay community. The funds will go to support LifeLong’s Street Medicine program, which was established last fall and has provided medical care and social services to almost 400 homeless individuals in Oakland encampments.

“Given the current public health crisis, we’ve temporarily shifted our model,” says Rina Breakstone, LCSW, LifeLong’s psychosocial services manager. “We’re providing education, outreach and coronavirus testing in the field.

“The medical staff’s gift is incredibly generous and meaningful. It will help us fund the tools and supplies that will help people living in encampments stay safe—including personal protective equipment (PPEs) for our teams and masks for unsheltered people who show symptoms.”

In honor of Doctors’ Day, the Alta Bates medical staff will donate funds to Bay Area Community Services (BACS), which provides behavioral health, housing and other services for teens, adults, older adults and their families. Another donation will go to Operation Recovery, a program aimed at breaking the cycle of addiction that causes crime, homelessness and broken families.

Street Medicine Team

"For Urban Poor, the Coronavirus Complicates Existing Health Risks", March 07, 2020

An outbreak could devastate low-income black and Latino communities that, even in the best of times, face serious medical challenges.

(John Eligon, NY Times) OAKLAND, Calif. — Several days had passed since the congestion in her chest left her feeling suffocated and racing to the emergency room. Now, Lisa McClendon, 64, was trying to level with her respiratory therapist about why her asthma had flared up again.

In recent months, she explained from her cramped studio apartment in downtown Oakland, Calif., the money from Uber driving had not been enough to buy the nutritional supplements that help to keep her asthma under control. The therapist, Rochelle Allen, heard things like this often. She mostly treats African-Americans like Ms. McClendon who struggle to make ends meet, and whose health problems can be exacerbated by social factors like a lack of insurance, healthy food options and recreational opportunities.

But Ms. Allen also saw another culprit in the asthma attack.

“You have to use your controller,” she said, waving an orange inhaler that Ms. McClendon was not using twice a day as instructed.

“I’m working to get off of these drugs,” Ms. McClendon said, adding that she preferred natural remedies. “I don’t trust the medical establishment.”

Even in the best of times, low-income minorities can face daunting health and medical issues. Many public health experts now fear a potentially dire situation: If the novel coronavirus becomes Read more >>

Eric Henley

"Congress inaction threatens critical doctor-training program", March 05, 2020

Despite clear need, one of the most effective pipelines for producing primary care physicians could end May 22

(East Bay Times) A recent workforce report from the UCSF HealthForce Center projects that by 2030, California will experience a 12% to 17% greater demand for primary care medical services than what currently exists.

This need will be further exacerbated by a projected decrease in the number of primary care physicians in the state due to increasing retirements of older physicians and fewer entering younger physicians. This shortage will not be completely addressed by increasing numbers of primary care nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Despite this clear need, one of the most effective pipelines for producing primary care physicians – the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program – could end on May 22 unless Congress votes to extend it. Support from Congress and President Trump is essential to ensure that we keep this program alive for the medical residents, communities and patients who benefit.

The Teaching Health Center (THC) program was created as part of the Affordable Care Act to increase the residency training of primary care physicians in the community, especially in under-served communities. While most residencies are in hospitals, THCs are based in the community, most often in Federally Qualified Health Centers whose main purpose is to provide care for under-served populations, such as the uninsured and those covered by MediCal. Read more >>

Eric Henley

"Making Connections: Community Health Centers go the Extra Mile for Elders", February 04, 2020

(CHroniCles) The National Population Projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau project that by 2034, there will be 77.0 million people age 65 years and older, or one-and-a half times as many as were reported in 2016 (49.2 million). For the first time, adults will outnumber the nation’s children under the age of 18. By 2030, 1 in every 5 U.S. residents will be of retirement age.

As the country prepares for this demographic milestone, community health centers will be challenged to care for greater numbers of older adults, with more complex and pressing health care needs. Data from the UDS show that health centers are already responding to this demographic shift. In 2018, older adults accounted for 9.6% of those served by community health centers, or 2.6 million people. [HRSA UDS]. Reflecting this shift, Medicare is an increasingly important payer for health centers, with the number of health center Medicare patients doubling from 2005-2014. In 2018, 2.7 million health center patients, or 9.7%, were covered by Medicare and an additional 1 million (3.7%) were Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligible. [HRSA UDS].

To get a bird’s-eye view of how several health centers are meeting new demands for care, we reached out to colleagues in California, Vermont and Illinois known for elder-focused care. While each has unique programs and faces local challenges, each has found a way to forge connections with elders in their communities and to offer older patients high-quality, empathic care. [Ed: With so much going on at health centers as demographics and approaches change, the next article in this series will look specifically at PACE, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.]

LifeLong Medical Care (Berkley, CA)

LifeLong Medical Care was focused from the outset on addressing the unmet need for health services in Berkeley’s senior community. Dr. Marty Lynch, who joined LifeLong in 1980, is the center’s Executive Director and co-founder of NACHCs Sub-committee on Healthy Aging. He explained that the health center was founded by a group of Gray Panthers, senior advocates who realized that the area’s growing low-income aging population did not have access to necessary medical services and decided to develop a place where older adults could receive support and quality health care. The Over 60 Health Center was there for the “folks who weren't always welcome in the normal private practice offices. “Folks who were poor maybe they didn't speak English, maybe were African American whatever it might be and they didn't fit in and the doctors didn't want to see them”Folks who were poor maybe they didn't speak English, maybe were African American whatever it might be and they didn't fit in and the doctors didn't want to see them.”


Trust Partners

"Lesson learned integrating ACEs science into health clinics: Staff first, THEN patients", December 17, 2019

(Laurie Udesky, Aces Connection) Nearly two years ago, a team of colleagues at LifeLong Medical Care jumped at the opportunity to integrate practices based on ACEs science to prevent and heal trauma in their patients when it joined a two-year learning collaborative known as the Resilient Beginnings Collaborative (RBC). RBC began in 2018 and includes seven safety net organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Here’s a link to a report about the RBC.)

To join the RBC, LifeLong Medical Care — which has 16 primary care health centers in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin Counties — and the other collaborative teams had to agree to introduce all staff members to ACEs science and trauma-informed practices. LifeLong went full steam ahead with a 2.5-hour introductory training for more than 100 employees who work at its clinics that serve pediatric patients. Trauma Transformed, a program of the East Bay Agency for Children in Oakland, CA, did the training in October and November 2018.

In February 2019, brainstorming around workflow was provided for staff at the LifeLong Howard Daniel Health Center in Oakland, CA, where LifeLong plans to pilot ACEs screening in newborns to five-year-olds, said Dr. Omoniyi Omotoso, the pediatric lead at LifeLong Medical Care, who led Read more >>

David B. Vliet Announced as New CEO of LifeLong Medical Care

Message from LifeLong Board President James Johnson Jr. Announcing New CEO

Dear LifeLong Medical Care Friends:

david vlietOn behalf of the LifeLong Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the selection of David B. Vliet, BHA, MBA, as our new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). His official start date will be Jan 22, 2020. We are very excited to welcome David to the LifeLong family!

As many of you know, Marty Lynch, PhD, is set to step down from the position of CEO at the end of January 2020 after almost 40 years. Over those 40 years, LifeLong grew from its flagship clinic, the Over 60 Health Center, to a robust network of 16 primary care clinics, three dental clinics, four school-based health centers, two urgent-care centers, and home-based services in supportive housing sites across Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. LifeLong proudly provides integrated primary care, behavioral health, and dental care to low-income families, children, older adults, individuals experiencing homelessness, and immigrants.

David comes to LifeLong with a wealth of experience in the community health center movement, most recently as the CEO of Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center (TVHC) in Hayward, CA. For more than seven years, David has led a strong team at TVHC, home to seven primary care clinics, three dental clinics, and three school-based health centers staffed by 300 health professionals.

From 2002 through 2012, prior to assuming the role of CEO at TVHC, David led Central Texas Community Health Centers, first as Chief Operating Officer for three years followed by seven years as CEO. Central Texas Community Health Centers is one of the largest community health center systems in the State of Texas.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining LifeLong Medical Care, a community-driven, widely respected, nationally recognized, and innovative Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the East Bay and beyond for over 40 years,” David said. “Every day, LifeLong’s Board and staff demonstrate their commitment to improve the lives and health outcomes of individuals and families who are facing significant challenges, including people who are elderly, homeless, immigrants, and low-income. I look forward to being a part of this remarkable team, and I’m excited by the opportunity to lead them into the future as we tackle the many challenges in accessing high-quality health care.”

Says Marty Lynch: “I’m totally excited to have David taking over as our new CEO at LifeLong. David has been a friend and well-respected colleague for many years and is a perfect choice to build on LifeLong’s current work and take us into the future. He is fully committed to the health of everyone in our community. Please join me in welcoming David to LifeLong Medical Care.”

David is an active board member of the Community Health Center Network (CHCN) and currently serves as board chair. He is currently chair-elect for the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) Board of Directors and he serves on the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Board where he co-leads an effort to promote diversity and support leaders from under-represented ethnic groups throughout NACHC.

David has lived and traveled in Latin America and he is fluent in Spanish. David also brings to LifeLong his amazing musical prowess as a performing blues and jazz musician.

This was a tall challenge to identify a successor to our longtime CEO, and we look to David’s leadership on behalf of our local communities and for underserved people across the nation.


James Johnson, Jr.
Board Chair, LifeLong Medical Care

“Trust Our Patients So They Can Trust Us”, September 18, 2019

At a clinic in Oakland, patients who once lived on the streets are helping to improve care for the unsheltered

(CHCF) It’s just after noon on the third Wednesday of the month, and at the Trust Health Center in downtown Oakland, California, patients are sharing pizza around a conference table. Meet the Trust Partners, the clinic’s patient-based board of advisers. The role of the eight-member board is to provide patient feedback to assure that the clinic stays meaningfully connected to the community it serves.

One of the partners, William Terry, tells the group about the years he was homeless, living in a run-down minivan. The unregistered van was such a wreck that whenever he moved it for street cleaning, it left a trail of oil. In eight and a half years, he never got a ticket. “I should be in the Guinness Book of Records,” he said with a laugh.

Terry can reflect with humor on his time living on the streets because now he has an apartment, thanks largely to the Trust Health Center. This Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which is operated by LifeLong Medical Care, opened in November 2015 to serve adult residents of Alameda County who have no home or who are at risk of losing their home. LifeLong provides primary care services, mental health care, and social services support.

Lifelong has a separate governing board overseeing the entire organization that meets the Health Resources & Services Administration’s requirement that the majority of a health center’s board must be its own patients. By law, patients must hold a majority on Lifelong’s governing board. Trust Partners offers an additional way to obtain specialized input from patients who have lived on the streets.


Trust Partners

LifeLong Medical Care’s Marty Lynch Given Outstanding Achievement Award by National Association of Community Health Centers

Marty Lynch, PhD, Executive Director and CEO of LifeLong Medical Care for the past 38 years, was recently presented with 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). 

Lynch received the national award for “excellence and commitment to America’s Health Centers and the people they service.” NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden presented the award to Lynch at the 2019 Community Health Institute and Expo. 

“I’m so very honored to receive this award and to have had the opportunity to contribute to the health of the communities served by health centers,” said Lynch.  

Saying he had one of the “luckiest jobs ever,” Lynch noted that through collaboration with the Alameda Health Consortium and the California Primary Care Association, LifeLong Medical Care has been able to accomplish “amazing things together” to improve the health of their communities.   

Lynch spent most of his life working with aging populations and the homeless. “When I started at LifeLong, the elderly were 5% to 6% of the community health center population. Now it’s 10%,” he said. Nationwide, that translates into nearly 3 million low-income older people who get excellent health care in the community health center system. 

“I’m so proud of us for doing that,” he said. 

Community health centers continue to face challenges, among them immigrant health, women’s health, and an epidemic of homelessness. But the biggest threat of all, he said, is climate change. Air pollution, mostly caused by carbon pollutants, aggravate a range of ailments including everything from heart attacks to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, stroke, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, and pneumonia. And low-income communities served by health centers will suffer the greatest health consequences, not only from unhealthy air, but also from searing heat, increased wildfires, high winds, and flooding that come with climate change.  

Lynch got his start at the Over 60 Health Center, which later became LifeLong Medical Care. He co-founded the Healthy Aging Subcommittee of the National Association of Community Health Centers and is past chair of the California Primary Care Association. He was recently appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the California Master Plan on Aging Advisory Committee. Lynch also serves on the boards of the Oakland PACE health plan for disabled elders and the Alameda Alliance for Health Plan that serves Medi-Cal recipients. 

Lynch received his Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco, and an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. 

In addition to health administration, Lynch is involved in public policy and research activities related to health access for the uninsured, long-term care models, chronic care, and financing care for disabled populations. Lynch also is a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. 

VIDEO  (Marty starts @ 8:20)

eileen marty and julie

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