A Great Place to Put Community Health Clinics: Fire Stations

Just in from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious:

In Hayward, the new community health clinic will be co-located on the grounds of the new fire station, which services the Tennyson Corridor, a community with a large population of low-income and uninsured or indigent individuals and families. The Hayward clinic aims to persuade people with limited healthcare access to choose the Firehouse Clinic over the emergency room, especially for preventative care.

To do so, the Firehouse Clinic will keep longer hours (8 a.m.–8 p.m. on weekdays) and guarantee appointment times within 72 hours of a patient’s request. The building, which will be separate from the fire station, will be a 2,400-square-foot, 7–exam room facility. The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency expects 5,000 new patients to be seen at the clinic during its first two years.

(Snip)

The real genius of the idea, of course, is that fire stations are generally under-used facilities (in the sense that firefighters are either waiting around or out doing their jobs), and every city’s got at least one. South Hayward lacks a dedicated adult public health clinic, but the city has a fire station. Now it has both. This is an idea that deserves to catch on.

Image credit: A prototype Firehouse Clinic design. (WRNS Studio)

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