When Coastside Family Medical Center in Half Moon Bay suddenly closed its doors, both the insured and the uninsured members of the comunity suffered. The insured had no idea that they were part of the “cause” of the problem; the CFMC was unable to get legal recognition as a clinic for the poor because we, the insured, “ruined it” for our uninsured neighbors by being too prosperous.
I look at this as a microcosm of what could happen in any community any day, so I’m sharing the information below about the economics of running a family practice under today’s health laws. The information was provided by the Half Moon Bay Chamber to its members. It shows where we are as an industrialized nation in making health care accessible to our citizens. Remember, this clinic is 30 miles from a major city.
*The Board of CFMC would like to take this opportunity to clear up som misconceptions.*
The Board of CFMC greatly regrets having to close the clinic and wishes thatwe could have done more to make the transition less painful for both the patients and staff. We are very grateful to the staff that has worked so hard over the years and in this difficult time to provide the best health care possible to Coastside residents. We’re also very appreciative of community members who jumped in and tried to provide positive assistance for those who needed immediate help.
*Why did you have to close the clinic?*
One reason: no more money to fund the shortfall. The financial history is
well known to most. The clinic was founded when Stanford University, after
experiencing a $1.5m annual loss, abruptly closed the doors in 2001. A group of us rallied and formed a non-profit 50( c)3 to run the clinic as it always had been designed serving the insured, uninsured, and underinsured. We experienced a $600,000 loss the first year and had a loss of at least $400,000 each year thereafter.
*How did you keep it open so long?*
We relied on our fundraisers, grants, foundations, and personal
contributions. All of the board were contributors to the clinic. Stanford
Hospital and Mills Peninsula were generous. A small number of individual
donors were extraordinarily generous.