Kaiser Permanente of Southern California has awarded a $575,000 grant to the Venice Family Clinic to help complete renovations at clinic facilities.

The centerpiece of the funding is a $500,000 capstone capital grant that will enable Venice Family Clinic to complete renovations at three of its seven Westside locations, clinic officials said.

In addition, the grant includes $40,000 towards funding a full-time staff physician to increase capacity for primary care visits; $20,000 to streamline the procedures used for enrolling eligible children and adults in public health insurance programs, such as Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and Kaiser Permanente’s Child Health Plan; and $15,000 for educational and self-monitoring programs to help patients with diabetes manage their illness more effectively.

Venice Family Clinic is considered the largest free clinic in the country, providing comprehensive primary care, specialty care and mental health services to nearly 22,000 low-income and uninsured patients each year — patients who would otherwise either go without care or utilize hospital emergency rooms, according to the clinic.

Numerous local hospitals have raised the issue that they could be forced to close their emergency rooms due to the heavy financial burden of unreimbursed emergency room visits by the uninsured, according to the clinic.

“We thank Kaiser Permanente for stepping forward to support the patient care and infrastructure improvements that Venice Family Clinic could not have funded alone,” said Venice Family Clinic chief executive officer Elizabeth Benson Forer. “It means so much to all of us — hospitals, the uninsured and even those with insurance — to have Kaiser Permanente standing shoulder to shoulder with us at this critical time.”

Kaiser Permanente of Southern California has partnered with Venice Family Clinic to provide free, quality healthcare to people in need since 1971. In that time, Kaiser Permanente has awarded more than $1 million to the clinic, helping it expand and improve programs in primary care, diabetes, weight management, and health insurance enrollment.

Venice Family Clinic also benefits from a 20-year association with the Family Medicine Residency Program at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center. Over the years, thousands of volunteer hours by these medical school graduates have helped the clinic more effectively meet the healthcare needs of its patients and improve the health of the community, clinic officials said.

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