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Health center opens on east side

Health: Long-awaited facility brings medical service to Canyon Country

Posted: October 27, 2010 9:42 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.

From left, Lidia Alonso Shadrick, a physician at the Santa Clarita Health Center, listens to the breathing of Sophia Dominguez, 2, on Tuesday. Sophia’s father, Max, 29, noticed his daughter showed asthma-like symptoms and brought her to the center for a checkup.

 

As the weather chills and the flu season approaches, clinics around the Santa Clarita Valley offer free immunization for local residents.

At the newly opened Santa Clarita Health Center in Canyon Country on Thursday, 400 vaccines will be waiting for the flu-wary.

With the clinic’s emphasis on preventive care for women and children, the health center will be welcoming patients as young as 6 months old.

The vaccination will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Santa Clarita Health Center, organized by the Northeast Valley Health Corporation, is increasing access to primary health services for uninsured and medically under-served residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.

It also provides long-awaited services to residents on the eastern end of the valley. Canyon Country patients used to have to travel across the valley to Saugus or Valencia to receive medical care.

Canyon Country resident Emilio Murillo, 30, brought his wife and his child to the Santa Clarita Health Center to an appointment with a pediatrician Monday. He said the new clinic’s location was very convenient for his family, and added that the waiting time for appointments decreased from hours to minutes when the family switched from a Valencia health center to the Canyon Country one.

“There were too many people; we had to wait two to three hours with an appointment — and without an appointment, all day,” Murillo said in Spanish. “Today, we waited less than 10 minutes.”

Lidia Alonso Shadrick, a physician for the Santa Clarita Health Center, said the facility in Valencia was “overwhelmed” with patients.

“We had to expand to the east of the valley,” she said.

She added that with one-third of the patients in Valencia being residents of Canyon Country, the location of the new Santa Clarita Health Center was going to be closer to home for many.

The new health center also opened in advance of an expected increase in the number of people seeking medical care in clinics.

With the federal health care reform passed this year, it is expected that health centers across the country will double their capacity to 40 million people by 2015, according to the report of the Northeast Valley Health Corporation.

Santa Clarita Health Center is open 20 hours a week and offers pediatric and women’s health services.

 The 7,500-square-foot clinic includes seven exam rooms, a lab draw area, counseling rooms, a pharmacy dispensary, a mothers’ breastfeeding lounge, a classroom and a Women, Infants and Children Program center.

With the emphasis on preventive medical care and counseling, the clinic’s staff is making an effort to educate local residents about medical care, especially women with children.

“The education is far more important,” Alonso Shadrick said. “We teach young mothers what to do.”

“A child has a fever in the middle of the night. What do you do? I try to educate women to use the hot line, so they can talk to a physician before they decide to go the (emergency room).”

There is a lot of counseling involved in the profession, Shadrick said.

One of the things that Shadrick tells her patients is to seek vaccination for the flu before the seasonal epidemic begins.

The health center, which is located at 18533 Soledad Canyon Road, will provide flu shots to local residents today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (661) 673-8800.

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