Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Competition and Financial Concerns Force Clinics to Merge

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 7:30 AM

hafclogo.jpg
Haight Ashbury Free Clinics (HAFC) and Walden House merged early this month, prompted by financial concerns and an overabundance of nonprofit healthcare services serving the same population.

Besides saving money for both clinics, Jeff Schindler, director of community and government relations, says that now, "You walk through one door and you get everything you need."

Schindler tells SF Weekly that HAFC has been looking for a collaborative partner since 2006, since there are 160 community-based organizations with similar benefits within the city, creating unnecessary competition and financial strain.

HAFC serves 7,500 patients, maintains a 24/7 women's safety center, and provides mental health services to San Francisco's jails. Walden House, which operates statewide, serves 11,000 people annually, providing short and long-term substance abuse treatment. Both primarily serve vulnerable and underprivileged populations as well as inmates.

The union seems to be an ideal match, since HAFC provides primary medical care but has no resident treatment program, whereas Walden House specializes in long-term recovery services.

According to Schindler, the merger makes things easier for their clients. "There's no runaround," he says. "It can be a problem when you have a vulnerable client who has come to you for some assistance, then receives a referral that's [across] town, especially for mentally ill patients who have a hard time navigating through town with the myriad of buses."

Since there was little overlap, Schindler says that very few program staff positions were eliminated as a result of the merger. However, cuts did take place in administrative staff, and the merging administrations saved the combined clinics $1 million, money that will go directly to treat clients.

"Quite honestly, we were constantly in a cashflow crisis," Shindler says, "but already we're in the black, and that happened almost immediately. We're both mission-driven and client-focused nonprofits, but we really can't operate in the red."

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly.
  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Caroline Chen

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"