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Health center draws flak from patients

More than a year ago, a Valley woman went to the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center after finding a lump in her breast. She was referred for a mammogram, and told she’d have to pay for the test as she lacked health insurance. Not being able to afford the procedure, she saved her money for months until she was finally able to pay for it.

“The bad news is, now it’s breast cancer. If they had caught it earlier, it might not have been so bad,” said the woman’s daughter, who added that the family was irritated to learn her mother could have gotten a free mammogram, something they said the health center should have immediately disclosed.

“Only afterwards they told her she qualified for a free mammogram. That is not right,” said the daughter, whose identity, like many sources in this article, is being withheld to protect medical privacy.

It was one of a dozen testimonials – reported by Springs residents through a translator – citing insufficient treatment at the health center and aired Wednesday night during a private meeting hosted by the Todd Trust and Community Foundation Sonoma County to learn more about how Sonoma’s Latino community perceives the clinic.

“The simple question was, ‘What’s going on in your community?’ The principal answer was, ‘The clinic, the clinic, the clinic,’” said Davin Cardenas, an organizer with the Community Foundation, who moderated the meeting of around two dozen Valley residents. “The question is, what are we going to do about it?”


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