Holiday Spirit

Jessie Peng, a nurse practitioner at MayView Community Health Center in Mountain View, talks to Maria Gonzalez during an exam on Nov. 25. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Posted November 29, 2019

MayView clinic expands to tackle growing need for health care services
Mountain View clinic helps people avoid the ER with affordable medical care

by Mark Noack

Health care can be an afterthought for the thousands of people who lack food, housing or security in Santa Clara County.

The pattern is well known to health officials: those struggling to make ends meet often ignore symptoms like a cough, a lump or a tingly arm until the situation becomes dire. That's what leads many people to end up in the emergency room with medical conditions that could have been easily treated if they were addressed much earlier.

Every day at the MayView clinic in Mountain View, a small health care team is focused on trying to reverse this trend by delivering preventative care before chronic health problems turn critical. This year, MayView has never been so well equipped to pursue its mission, but it also hasn't ever faced such big challenges, said Charlene Gliniecki, a registered nurse who serves as the clinic's human resources director. The small Mountain View clinic, located right above a AAA service center on El Camino Real, has an excellent management team, a devoted medical staff and a stable funding base, she said.

But its mission is also expanding, she said. Over the last year, the number of patient visits jumped by 37%, including large increases in those who are uninsured or underinsured. Of that patient base, more than one out of three lives in Mountain View.

As a matter of duty, MayView never turns away any patients, regardless of their ability to pay, and as a matter of principle, the clinic doesn't go after people for payment. To its core, MayView has a culture that stands in stark contrast to the profit-driven health care market.

"We feel it's important for people to give what they can," Gliniecki insisted. "But we never send collectors after people. We don't chase people down; that's just not what we do."

MayView is one of seven nonprofit organizations serving Mountain View residents that benefit from the Voice's annual Holiday Fund. Donations to the fund are divided equally among the nonprofits and are administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation at no cost, so 100 percent of contributions go to the recipients.

Medical practitioners describe MayView in 2019 as rebounding after some years of struggle. A couple of years ago, the clinic was overbooked and overwhelmed. A patient could easily be left waiting about three months for an appointment. The clinic was hemorrhaging staff as many doctors and nurses were being poached by larger hospitals that could pay more. For a period, a smaller MayView clinic in Sunnyvale closed down due to the staffing shortage.

The clinic learned some significant lessons from those lean years. To this day, the clinic still hires scribes to act as executive assistants for physicians, freeing up time for doctors to see more patients. MayView's CEO Ken Graham, the former CEO of El Camino Hospital, came out of retirement last year to help steer the clinic back on track, focusing its limited resources on attaining new certifications, updated records systems and improved staff organization. Morale has improved, grant funding has steadily increased and medical staff turnover has declined.

"It's been a 180 in the way the clinic is run. It's efficient but it still has that family feel of putting patients first," said Alexandra Horevitz, MayView's social worker.

Horevitz is spearheading the clinic's integrated behavioral health program, a new initiative made possible as part of a $1.7 million grant from El Camino Healthcare District earlier this year. Under that program, MayView staffers try to take into account psychological factors like stress, depression or substance abuse as they treat patients' medical conditions.

This presents a unique challenge, Horevitz said. Plenty of patients are living high-stress lives trying to afford to stay in this area. It's common to hear of patients working two or three jobs and living in overcrowded apartments. Often there's no easy remedy, especially when poverty is a factor, she said, but at the very least MayView can provide a place for isolated or depressed patients to unload their emotional baggage.

It is just one effort to meet the unique needs of its patient base. Just down the hallway, Ana Karen Marquez administers the clinic's whole person care program, which tries to take into account each patient's obstacles to getting care, such as transportation, income or psychological factors. In some cases, this involves calling up patients to give reminders to take their medication or attend an appointment. She describes her role as helping patients navigate their own health care.

"It's a missing piece," Marquez explained. "People have so much on their minds, and they're being bounced between so many specialists that they get lost in the process."

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2021 Recipient Agency

Community Health Awareness Council
CHAC serves Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and seven school districts. Among the services it offers are schoolbased counseling and programs to protect students from high-risk behaviors.

Community School of Music & Arts
The Community School of Music and Arts provides hands-on art and music education in the classrooms of the Mountain View Whisman School District.

Community Services Agency
CSA is the community's safety-net providing critical support services for low-income individuals and families, the homeless and seniors in northern Santa Clara County, including Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Day Worker Center of Mountain View
The Day Worker Center of Mountain View provides a secure place for workers and employers to negotiate wages and work conditions. It serves workers with job placements, English lessons, job skills workshops and guidance.

Mayview Community Health Center
The MayView Community Health Center in Mountain View offers primary care services to low-income and uninsured patients in northern Santa Clara County. No patient is turned away for inability to pay for services, which include prenatal and pediatric care, cancer screenings and chronic disease management.

Mentor Tutor Connection
Mentor Tutor Connection matches adult volunteers who serve either as mentors with under-served youth in high school or as tutors to students in elementary and middle schools in Mountain View and Los Altos school districts.

YWCA of Silicon Valley
This group operates a 24-hour bilingual hotline and a safe shelter for women and their children. It also offers counseling and other services for families dealing with domestic violence.

As of September 21st, 132 donors have contributed $71,561 to the Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld at donor's request

46 Anonymous14,808
Robert J. Rohrbacher100
David E. Simon & Lynn Gordon1,000
The PS & KW Creger Family Trust 500
Catherine Howard*
Charlene Miyashita50
David L. Hatt250
Dr. Dana E. Backman100
Lisa Topping and Mark Buggy*
Kevin & Robin Duggan*
James and Marilyn Kelly*
Jim & Mia Whitfield*
Pamela Baird & Greg Unangst1,000
David Offen & Gail Nyhan*
Paul & Sarah Donahue2,000
Lawrence K. Wallace50
Mitch & Barb Topol50
Dan Pappas250
Karen & David Keefer100
Andy & Liz Coe100
Bruce & Twana Karney350
Norma Jean Bodey Galiher200
Thomas J. Mucha350
Laurie Bonilla & Ed Perry250
Ellen Wheeler50
Sara and Ricardo Jenez*
Peter Stahl and Janet Sloan1,000
Mark Flider250
Lyle & Sally Sechrest100
Ross S Heitkamp*
Sandra and Craig Peterson200
Ann McCarty*
Murray Family100
Max Beckman-Harned1,400
Sally Evans100
Karen Skold50
Steve Attinger500
Emily Arcolino3,000
Christopher and Mary Dateo1,000
Ed Taub and Sheri Gish108
Marilyn Gildea*
The Depenhart Family750
Laura and Dave Blakely100
Mary DeMasters*
Boris Burtin100
Judy Atterholt & Chris Petti*
Kelly Family1,000
Herta Schreiner & Miguel Garcia200
Wesley D. Smith*
Ann Kapoun200
Linda & Greg Kannall25
Anne Johnston*
Jim & Alice Cochran700
E. Denley Rafferty100
Bruce Heflinger1,000
Patricia & Roger Hayes50
Dolores N. Goodman500
Leslie C. and Anita N. Nichols*
Randy Tsuda & Julie McCullough*
Ross & Karen Heitkamp350
Reese and Kathleen Cutler*
Gary and Yuko Kushner*
Rudy & Debra Robinson 200
David D. Meir-Levi25
Tom & Barbara Lustig*
Elisabeth Seaman500
Cliff and Kara Chambers1,000
Jeral Poskey250
Jerry & Sherri Morrison 700
Judith A. Manton500
Kathleen & Serge Bonte200
Shirley K. Ingalls*
Jas Laskowski3,000
Margaret Chapman100
David Fung*
Leona K. Chu*
Jeff Segall & Helen He200
Kevin & Laurel Smith Charitable Fund3,000
In Memory Of

Jim & Sally Hayden-Myer210
Julie Lovins & Greg Fowler*
Mack & Laila Holombo*
In Honor Of

Edward, Petros & Thalia200
Ed, Petros and Thalia185
Businesses & Organizations

ebernsconsulting, llc150
Hewlett Foundation8,750
Packard Foundation8,000