News

Oct 8, 2015

First Choice Bringing Wellness Ecosystem to South Valley


First Choice Community Healthcare, founded 43 years ago in the rectory of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Broadway south of Coal Avenue, has concluded it has failed in its mission to improve the health and wellness of the communities it serves. First Choice provides excellent medical care in its nine clinics. More than 54,000 patients visited First Choice clinics 163,000 times last year for medical, dental and behavioral health care visits. A quarter of them were children, 97 percent had incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($48,500 for a family of four), and 23 percent wereSpanish-speaking. Diabetes was controlled, children were immunized, high cholesterol was treated, teeth were cleaned.

“After 43 years, we still don’t see population health,” First Choice CEO Bob DeFelice said.

The reason is that the core business of First Choice and other provider systems is to deliver medical care,and medical care makes a pretty small contribution to the health of a population. A University of California, San Francisco, School of Mecicine study found that medical care is responsible for preventing 10 to 15 percent of preventable deaths in the United States. Things like sanitation, nutrition, adequate housing, exercise and healthy lifestyles are responsible for preventing 85 to 90 percent of preventable deaths."What makes a community healthy?" DeFelice asked. "It's social determinants: jobs, education, early childhood development, access to high-quality, affordable food, safety, environmental factors."


Click here to read the full article