Health Centers on the Front Line of Community Health

July 28, 2021

Quality, affordable health care should be available to everyone. It was that premise that led to the creation of AltaMed more than 50 years ago.

Every August, community health centers like ours celebrate our commitment to the populations we serve during National Health Center Week. In the second week of every August we work to raise awareness about our mission and accomplishments which span five decades.

This year is particularly poignant given the struggles we have all faced through the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve worked hard to provide resources to help keep you informed throughout this ordeal, like:

But long before there was COVID-19, there’s been AltaMed.

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Our History

AltaMed started in 1970 on Whittier Boulevard as the East LA Barrio Free Clinic. The clinic filled a gaping void left by health care systems and hospitals that didn’t see the value in serving a vibrant, diverse community.

Seven years later, community organizer and activist Cástulo de la Rocha got involved after seeing his friends regularly standing in lines that wound around the block to access services from our storefront clinic. He worked to create a “whole community” approach to health care that turned the Barrio Free Clinic into one of the area’s largest health care systems with more than 50 sites staffed by 3,200 professionals and serving 300,000 people each year.

The focus — led by our President and CEO Cástulo de la Rocha — is on eliminating disparities in health care access and outcomes for multiethnic communities all over Southern California.

Accomplishing that means understanding the unique needs of everyone we serve and putting that into the context of their ethnicity, gender, and even neighborhood. We look beyond the clinical to find community resources to help the entire community live healthier, even going to far as working with elected officials to make missing resources a reality.

AltaMed also engages a workforce development program and medical residency emphasizing local service. Staff and physicians reflect the neighborhoods they serve because they’re from those same neighborhoods.

Doctor Visit

Beyond the Southland

AltaMed serves more than 300,000 people each year, but that’s just 1% of the 30 million patients nationally who count on the care of community health centers. They fill the gaps left by health care and hospital systems who focus on patients with insurance and the ability to pay.

Community health care centers are focused on serving for those who would slip through the cracks otherwise.

There will be a different focus each day of National Health Center Week.

AltaMed Is Here for You

We bring you convenient, culturally sensitive care. But to help our communities grow healthy, we help with equitable access to schools, good jobs, healthful foods, essential services, and elected officials who reflect and respect the people they serve.

It takes a community, and we’re your community health center. We’re committed to educating, engaging, and mobilizing our members, our staff, our partners, and our leaders. Learn more about our ongoing efforts and initiatives.

Follow this link to get started with AltaMed or call us at (888) 499-9303.

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The Services to Help You Grow Healthy and the Protection to Keep You Safe

July 07, 2020

For the past 50 years, our top priority has been helping our patients grow healthy. Our locations remain open and safe to support you and your family’s health needs. While we have telehealth visits available, there’s no substitute for in-person visits. Here’s how we’re keeping you safe:

All of our sites follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines:

  • Patients and staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before being permitted to enter.
  • Everyone is required to wear a mask.
  • We have placed hand sanitizer stations throughout our facilities.
  • All exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each patient.
  • All of our providers and staff use personal protective equipment (PPE) that includes a mask, protective eyewear, a plastic face shield, and gloves (when appropriate).

Use Our Patient Portal to Get In and Out

Couple checking computer The MyAltaMed patient portal now has more features that can help you minimize contact while getting you checked in and ready for your appointment faster. Using the patient portal, you can:

  • Schedule, register, and check in to your appointment from your own device
  • Communicate with your health care team
  • View lab results and visit notes
  • Set up and attend a telehealth visit

Now Open and Serving You Safely

Altamed ClinicTelehealth visits are convenient, but they are no substitute for in-person care – and you can’t get a vaccination over video-chat! And, if you have a newborn, bringing them for in-person visits is critically important. Whether you need a dental appointment or an appointment for any of our other services, our facilities remain open and safe for you and your family to visit.

If you have any questions or concerns about your health or how to schedule an appointment, please call us at (888) 499-9303.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.

AltaMed Is Here to Help You End the Year on a Healthy Note

November 30, 2020

If there’s anything we learned in 2020, it’s that nothing is more important than your health.
AltaMed is here this holiday season to help give the gift of health to yourself and your family in the following ways:

Flu Shots

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Even though flu season is already here, you should still get the influenza vaccine if you haven’t already. This year it may be more important than ever since there is no widely available vaccine for COVID-19. Getting vaccinated against the flu is a good way to prevent the pandemic worsening: spikes in flu cases with COVID-19 could swamp hospitals and endanger the health of our communities.

Open Enrollment

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This is the time of year when you can choose new insurance coverage or get coverage if you’re not insured. It’s also your chance to change doctors, dentists, hospitals, or specialists. During open enrollment, you have the opportunity to sign up for Medi-Cal or other options on the Covered California marketplace or Medicare if you’re over 65. If you’re confused about your options, contact us so we can help explain them.

Preventive Exams and Vaccines

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The pandemic might have made you hesitant to schedule some of your regular exams like mammograms, cervical exams, and well-woman exams. There is no need to put these off. Every AltaMed location provides protective equipment recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep patients and health care workers safe. This includes the ability to provide safe and effective vaccines for your children.

Dental Exams

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Do not neglect your teeth and gums. The mouth is the portal to your body, and healthy teeth and gums can prevent serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. AltaMed has taken extra measures to make sure we are providing you a safe environment to come in for regular dental checkups and procedures. 

Diabetes Care

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It’s important to maintain your regimen of care if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Doctors believe people with type 2 diabetes could become severely ill if they contract COVID-19. Less is known about patients with type 1 diabetes, but it is best to be cautious. Maintain at least a 30-day supply of medications, including insulin. Test your blood sugar and track the results. Contact AltaMed if you feel ill or have concerns about your condition.

Try Meatless Mondays

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Taking one day out of the week to forego meat can help change habits and lead to a healthier lifestyle. Alternatives to meat have come a long way from soy burgers and “not dogs.” They taste great and are better for you than processed meats. A meatless diet is also better for the planet. It takes 420 gallons of water to produce a quarter pound of beef. Don’t worry, you don’t have to make it a full-time commitment: giving up meat just one day a week can give you major health benefits. Talk with an AltaMed dietician to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein to supplement any plant-based diet.

Manage Stress

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Times are definitely stressful. But you don’t have to tackle the stress alone. AltaMed has certified behavioral health specialists to help you cope with the anxiety of the holidays, the change in seasons, the pandemic, or anything that may be on your mind. Call (855) 425-1777 for more information. If you are in crisis and having suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevention hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Mask Up

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Please don’t take unnecessary chances during the holidays if you’re planning any get-togethers. Holiday traditions are great, but not at the risk of your health. Try to limit the size of your gathering. Also, make sure you and your guests wear masks when gathered, wash hands often, and follow CDC guidelines. Isolate yourself if you feel any symptoms of COVID-19 and call AltaMed if you need to get tested.

We’re Here for You

AltaMed can help you get through the holidays and grow healthy, for years to come with screenings, compassionate care at both office visits and telehealth appointments, and health education. You can get more information and find the links you need here. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. 

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.