These are negative-margin services provided despite a financial loss. Subsidized services are provided because they meet a community need that no one else provides.
The total expense for subsidized health services for FY11 was $9,118,616. This includes Scripps inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services, Mercy Clinic and Scripps In-Lieu of Funds.
Helping the underserved
Mercy Clinic has tirelessly served the community of San Diego for 80 years. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the primary clinic treated more than 12,000 underinsured patients — most of them disabled from work. This translates to more than 1,000 patients per month.
Established to care for the poor, Mercy Clinic has become a critical source of medical care for San Diego’s “working and disabled poor.” Each year, 90 percent of the primary care clinic’s patient visits are paid through federal government programs, including Medicare and Medi-Cal. The remaining 10 percent pay what, or if, they can. Without Mercy Clinic, thousands of these low-income adults would not receive medical care.
“At Mercy Clinic, we care for an incredibly vulnerable and fragile population,” says Renee Smilde, MD, director of Mercy Clinic. “Many patients are disabled and have multiple medical issues. "In our changing health care environment, we not only need to address medical problems, we also often have to help the patient navigate the health care system.”
Patients at the clinic also receive care from residents of the Scripps Graduate Medical Education Program, one of the most sought-after residency programs in the nation. In addition to routine care, Mercy Clinic offers a wide variety of subspecialty services, including orthopedics, podiatry, nephrology, endocrinology and diabetes care, cardiology and nutritional counseling.
Residents say they receive invaluable training both in how to care for populations with complex issues and in the changing health care landscape.
“I appreciate being able to care for low-income patients who otherwise would not have access to specialized care,” says resident Frank Passero, MD. “We learn how to manage patients with very complex issues, many of whom are in dire straits socially and psychologically.”