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Serving You with a Network of Rural Health Clinics

Access to quality health care is a critical need in the rural areas and communities of Lake County. There are many challenges that prevent people from getting the care they need, such as financial struggles, unemployment, lack of transportation or other roadblocks. At St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake, it is our mission to reach out and provide care where it is needed most.

The St. Helena Rural Health Care Clinics team includes, from top, Brent Dupper, Marian Pena, Kimberly Tangermann.

St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake is staffed by 47 full-time physicians covering more than 18 medical specialties. It includes more than 400 employees and 40 volunteers.

The Services We Offer

The Rural Health Clinics provide a full spectrum of both primary and specialty care, and serve as a link to more specialized services when needed. The clinics serve patients of all ages, from neonatal and pediatrics to adult and geriatric care.

With physicians in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN and women’s services, general surgery, podiatry, urology, ENT and neurology, St. Helena Hospital’s Family Health Center in Clearlake provides nearly 7,000 visits each month. Services also include behavioral health, a certified nurse-midwife, family nurse practitioners, physical therapy and diabetic education. Four dentists in the center’s dental clinic serve more than 500 patients per month.

The Family Health Center in Kelseyville provides an average of 600 patient visits per month in family practice, podiatry and behavioral health, in addition to lab services. The Family Health Center in Middletown serves about 600 patients per month in family practice, obstetrics and women’s services.

The network of Rural Family Health Clinics is one of only a few in the state to provide comprehensive mental health services to rural communities. “Due to state budget cuts and other challenges, we’ve had to grow our program to respond to the needs of more patients, including those with acute and severe mental health conditions,” says Marian Pena, Behavioral Health Manager, Rural Family Health Clinics.

The Difference We Make

“Every day we see patients who have had a difficult go of it, and we try to help them to overcome the obstacles that keep them from living healthier,” says Kimberly Tangermann, Associate Director, Rural Family Health Clinics.

“Some of our neighbors in Lake County are faced with tough choices, such as keeping the heat and power on or putting food on the table. Getting the health care they need—even just getting to the clinic—can be a great challenge,” says Pena. “We help address those needs by helping out with things like transportation services and an emergency food fund.”

“It’s not just about coming in to the clinic to get your sore throat checked,” explains Brent Dupper, Regional Director and COO Clear Lake Physician Services. “Our health coaches work with patients on a variety of issues to provide whole-person health care.”

With the Live Well program, many patients learn how to better care for themselves in all aspects of life—from the basics of nutrition and exercise to encouraging healthy lifestyles, healthy relationships and stronger, safer families.

“If a patient has a need, our staff and providers find a way to help,” Dupper says. “From helping people stop smoking to weight loss, behavioral health and good nutrition, there are many ways we help make people’s lives better every day.” Some examples of wrap-around care making a real difference:

  • Health coaches offering a listening ear to patients struggling with home or family issues.
  • Pooling resources in the community to do things like denture repair or helping get a walker for someone who needs it.
  • Connecting patients with a local Habitat for Humanity to help get a wheelchair ramp installed or repair a roof leak from a storm.
  • Organizing a clothing drive to help support patients in our weight loss group.
  • A prayer circle, where patients come in once a week to pray for and with each other.

Health Care That Feels Like Home

“We want our clinics to feel like a family, a place that people can call their health care home,” Tangermann says. “We serve multiple generations of patients in a small town setting where providers get to know families and understand their needs, within a network that’s large enough to provide access to a broader spectrum of care.”

Pena says, “This is more than a treatment facility, it’s a preventive health and integrative health care facility, where you can come to get well and stay healthy.”

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