Grossmont Healthcare District continues support to community clinics serving East County region residents

photo credit David Zumaya

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is continuing its support of community healthcare clinics who serve low-income, uninsured and underserved residents of the East County with recent grants to the La Maestra Family Clinic, Family Health Centers of San Diego and Vista Hill Foundation.

The GHD board recently approved a $35,000 grant for equipment to provide dental and orthodontic services, including screenings, education and specialty treatment, to patients who visit La Maestra’s four dental clinics. La Maestra currently operates two dental clinics in El Cajon at 1032 Broadway and 183 South First St., plus two others in Lemon Grove at 7139 Broadway in Lemon Grove, 7967 Broadway in Lemon Grove. A fifth dental clinic at 1341 East Main St. in El Cajon is expected to open in the fall of 2018. La Maestra officials said its dental clinics provide approximately 55,000 patient encounters annually, including 7,000 patient encounters projected for the soon-to-be-open dental clinic in El Cajon.

“We’re grateful for the support from the Grossmont Healthcare District,” said Zara Marselian, La Maestra CEO. “This funding will help reduce wait times and improve access to high-quality care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We’re glad to partner in meeting our mission to provide quality health care and education, to improve the overall well-being of the family, and to bring the underserved, ethnically diverse communities into the mainstream of our society through a caring, effective, culturally and linguistically competent manner, respecting the dignity of all patients.”

In addition, the GHD board recently approved a $40,276 grant to Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) for a new peer navigation program that helps recently discharged hospital patients connect with behavioral health services at their new Grossmont Family Counseling Center (GFCC). Located adjacent to Sharp Grossmont Hospital campus, GFCC has been assisting discharged patients since it opened in January 2017. The new peer navigation program will include follow-up with patients, family members and friends to increase appointment show rates for patients, thereby reducing unnecessary revisits to the hospital emergency department.

“We know peer support can result in improved patient outcomes when used as a part of a seamless transition of care program,” said Fran Butler-Cohen, president/CEO, Family Health Centers. “We’re grateful for financial support from the Grossmont Healthcare District and for their vision to reduce hospitalizations and emergency room recidivism by patients with mental health challenges.”

The GHD board also recently approved a $30,000 grant to Vista Hill Foundation, a social services nonprofit that operates the Vista Hill ParentCare Family Recovery Center in La Mesa. Since 1989, the Center has provided high-risk mothers and their children with a variety of services, including daily substance abuse treatment, parenting skills training and on-site specialized child care. Vista Hill staff said the support from GHD will provide services to pregnant and parenting women and their newborn infants and young children. The services will include psychiatric care to address reoccurring mental health disorders that may be impacting their recovery, as well as domestic violence, chemical dependency and homelessness.

“The support from the Grossmont Healthcare District will greatly increase the chances for success for approximately 200 families over the next year,” said Rachel Peniche, executive director, Friends of Vista Hill Foundation. “We believe our family-centered recovery services are making a significant difference in preventing child abuse and reducing prenatal drug and alcohol exposure.”

The Grossmont Healthcare District is a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in the East Region. Formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, GHD now leases operations to Sharp HealthCare via a public-private partnership, and continues to own the hospital on behalf of local taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District’s 750 square miles in San Diego’s East County. For more information about GHD, visit