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Clinic May Close Its Doors - Family Medical Offices In Fair Oaks Serving Those Without Health Insurance Lacks Patients

A family medical clinic that caters to the area's underserved community is searching for a phenomenon to maintain the facility from going out of business.

Christine Wilson, the owner said, the Orangevale Family Medical Clinic, whose office is at the corner of Greenback Lane and Fair Oaks Boulevard in Fair Oaks, may be shutting down its doors for good at the end of this month.

The clinic's difficulty, she said, is shortage of patients. More than 900 served now, however that is not sufficient to keep the businesses out of the red.

"At the end of August, I said we have 30 days," Wilson said. "I'd already drafted the letter for my patients" saying the clinic was going out of business.

She said, Wilson’s largest demographic is the area's Latino population, who make up about 50 to 60 percent of her clientele. Nevertheless, another main group is people between the ages of 40 and 62, she said.

Wilson said, "Those people are too young for Medicare but make too much for Medi-Cal. But at the same time they can't afford the premiums for private insurance."

In addition, by the time someone is 40, they have more than likely been stricken with something like gout or high blood pressure, making them not qualified for private insurance because of a pre- existing condition, she said.

However, the for-profit clinic is subject to the same basic economic rule as any private business, bring in more than you pay out or shut the doors. The clinic has been a labor of love for Wilson, who came to Orangevale in 2001 from South Lake Tahoe. She financed its opening with the sale of her house and has ever since sunk all her equity into the place, she said.

The Stanford-trained physician's assistant said she is looking for a financially established business partner. However, there is a condition, which she articulates, in street slang.

"It must be more valuable to build own practice than to work for The Man," she said.

Word of mouth, particularly in the Latino community, is keeping the clinic afloat so far, she said, but that could vary at any time.

Wilson said, “We're very dedicated to this place. I would hate to see it go. There are not a lot of other places for the people I see to go for health care.”



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