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The Council of Community Clin- ics (CCC)—which includes the San Diego American Indian Health Cen- ter and the Comprehensive Health Center both in Bankers Hill, among others—has just completed its 2009 profile of CCC community clinics based on data just released by the Office of Statewide Health Plan- ning and Development’s (OSHPD) annual reported use of primary care. The results demonstrated the deepening effects of the economy on residents of San Diego County Gary Rotto said, CCC director of health policy. Results showed that all the patient demographic numbers for 2009 increased significantly from 2008. Not only have the clinics seen a huge jump in patients from 2008 to 2009, patients with private insurance dropped from 2008 to 2009 from 23,565 to 21,962. The CCC patient profile changed too. The percent of those below the poverty line rose 8 percent, and the number of white patients also rose almost 5 percent. “We certainly saw (with this data) what is going on with the economy. The number of people who either were, or still are, unem- ployed or underemployed, which means they’ve been switched to part-time work and have lost their health coverage, (and) well, they’re all coming to us,” Rotto said dur- ing a recent interview with San Diego Uptown News. “It’s almost a 20 percent increase in the number of patients in one year—that is just huge.”

Fran Butler-Cohen, a represen- tative for Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) said they too are seeing an increase in patients. FHCSD operates the North Park Family Health Center located at 3544 30th St., which was expanded in 2009 to include a HIV Service Center, with the entire center being greatly utilized by the North Park community and beyond. “From my talks with other clinic managers, it would appear that there is an increase in former-mid- dle class residents seeking health care,” Butler-Cohen said. In 2009, North Park Fam-

ily Health Center saw 23,672 pa- tients who were given 89,118 health contacts and/or visits. The organi- zation saw a 10 percent increase in overall patients, but a 14.9 percent increase in those patients who were reported as uninsured. “This speaks volumes on what population segment in now in need,” she said.

Rotto explained that the CCC has been struggling to accommo- date the large increase in clinic patients under the fiscal constraints of a faltering California budget, but that innovative solutions are always being formulated. There are 16 clin- ic CEOs that run the more than 100 clinic sites throughout San Diego County, he said, and each CEO fac- es their own set of issues based on their neighborhood's demographic and economy. “How they go about delivering

services, to the type of care coordi- nation, to not just using doctors and providers to provide patient educa- tion, to expanding hours of opera-

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 4-17, 2011


FHCSD operates the North Park Family Health Center located at 3544 30th St. In 2009, the North Park facility saw a 10 percent increase in overall patients and a 14.9 percent increase in uninsured patients. (Courtesy of FHCSD)

tion in a constrained fiscal environ- ment—they have to get creative under these circumstances,” Rotto said. “The clinics are all commu- nity-rooted and the community al- ways comes first—then they figure out how to pay for it.”

Most of the patients who come to

the clinics have a chronic condition: asthma, hypertension or diabetes. “Those are probably the three

most common illness we see that people are struggling to manage or regulate,” Rotto said.

Butler-Cohen noted there is also an increasing demand for mental health services. “It is a troubling time for peo- ple, full of economic uncertainty. Recently, one of the Port busi- nesses invited us to talk to about 600 employees that were in the process of receiving lay-off no- tices. We at least could share with them how to access healthcare and other related services when they no longer had health ben- efits. COBRA is just too expensive for families trying to stretch and keep a roof over their heads and food on the table,” she said. Both the CCC and FHCSD rep-

Uptown-area clinics, which provide free health care for San Diego residents, have experienced state cuts to health programs and reduced funding for programs that exclusively serve the uninsured. (Courtesy of FHCSD)


his recipes. He would love to open his own brewpub some day. In June, McNair's Imperial IPA

homebrew won a gold medal out of nearly 400 IPA entries in the National Homebrew Competition. He also collaborated on a San Diego County session ale with Stone and Ballast Point after he won an American Homebrew- ers Association competition last March. While McNair usually makes about 10 gallons per batch at home, Stone made 360 barrels, which held 31 gallons each, and the beer was distributed in 20 states, he said.

“That took a while to sink in,” he said. “It was like a dream to brew beer on a professional scale.” McNair said the shed in his back yard is “where the magic happens.” It’s his own pilot brewery with equipment that is a smaller-scale version of what would be found at a microbrew- ery. He has a brewing rig and two stainless steel conical fermenters in freezers that allow him to do two batches at a time as well as more than a dozen 5- and 10-gal- lon repurposed soda kegs to store

his assortment of brews. A blackboard in his shed

proudly displays the beers he has on tap, such as his signature imperial IPA, his Stone collabo- ration, “Ray Street” red ale and Russian imperial stout with a 12 percent alcohol content. He also has four beers on tap in his kitchen, including a Belgian-style Saison and a fig-juice infused Belgian Dark strong ale with a 10 percent alcohol content, which was a compilation with several homebrewers.

Having his own brewpub one day would be ideal for McNair because he would be able to sell his beer directly to consum- ers while still maintaining the level of creativity he enjoys as a homebrewer.

One beer he wants to work on next is a Mexican chocolate porter, which he says will include imperial porter, cocoa nibs, cin- namon and cayenne pepper. “I always like to experiment, and the fun of homebrewing is choosing what hops, yeast and malts you’re going to do,” he said. “I have a creative background, but I also have a general interest in the technical side. I always like to pick things apart to get to the fine details and find out the best way

of doing something.” As local breweries continue to raise San Diego County’s profile as a major beer town, appre- ciation of good brew will keep driving people toward the hobby, McNair said. “There’s so much inspira-

tion here,” he said. “It fuels that passion that you can do it yourself.”su

resentatives said they have experi- enced state cuts to programs and additional cuts to programs that ex- clusively serve the uninsured, but that regardless of the situation they encourage community residents to seek assistance if they’re in need. “The best information is find-

ing out what programs can cover specific needs. North Park Fam- ily Health Center has many pro- grams that are grant-funded to help those in need and we also work with the state, local and federal gov- ernments in the provision of other programs,” Butler-Cohen said. These health services include childhood immunizations, well- child care, lead screening, fam- ily planning services, pharmaceu- tical assistance, integrative mental health, cancer screening and treat- ment, medical care, dental servic- es, and developmental screening for children 0 to 60 months. Although the future remains

uncertain for 2011, Rotto knew one thing for sure. “It’s hard to say what we will see with the data from 2010, but we know we will see another increase.” For more information on the CCC and the clinic locations under its umbrella, visit, and for more information regarding the North Park Family Health Center and the FHCSD, visit

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