CARLINA HANSEN — executive director of the Women’s Community Clinic at 1833 Fillmore — might seem an unlikely cheerleader for the onrushing changes in health care reform, which are ostensibly aimed at doing away with her clinic’s client base of uninsured and underinsured women.
But rather than close its doors and declare its mission accomplished, the clinic is expanding beyond its previous brief of providing free or low-cost reproductive and sexual health care services to offer primary care as well.
“It’s a big exciting change,” Hansen says of the Affordable Care Act. “I hear a lot of folks who are critical — mostly that it didn’t go far enough. But it sends a message to people who were overlooked that their health is valuable and that they deserve good medical care.”
To gear up, the clinic is adding a medical director and primary care nurse practitioner to its staff of 30, which is complemented by 150 volunteers. And beginning next month, the clinic will add an additional staff member to begin helping clients enroll in newly available insurance plans.
“It’s very exciting for our clients,” says Hansen. “People are so happy coming here. Now we’ll be able to meet their broader needs.”
In operation since 1999, the Women’s Community Clinic relocated from Hayes Street to new and expanded offices on Fillmore in March 2011.
“The thing is that change is hard,” says Hansen. “There will be bumps. But the base message is: It’s for the patients — and a step in the right direction.”