California is known for its health care innovations and now Hayward is home to the first Firehouse Clinic in the state. Don’t worry about your local firefighters being overworked. The building is the only one working two jobs as it houses both; a fully functioning fire station and a health clinic.
In general, Firefighters and ambulance are first responders in life and death situations. More often, people require medical attention that is not categorized as extremely vital but call for emergency services. The attached health clinic is aiming to prevent such confusion, and with its availability, regular care is accessible to the public, increasing overall health and decreasing the emergency calls that can happen due to minor complaints.
Without health insurance, people may need more than patience to become a patient with an average wait time of up to 72 hours. In the city of Hayward, St. Rose Hospital was the only option. With Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center Inc. staffing the clinic the majority of the fire station, patients do not have to wait as long. “Patients that need to be seen today will be seen today,” David Vliet, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center CEO stated, “If they want to be seen tomorrow, that’s fine, but they will not have to go past 72 hours.”
The clinic is designed to cut down on patient time by using more electronic devices like tablets and having medical supplies ready ahead of time. Although it is attached to the fire station, it is not cutting any corners. The clinic features an on-site lab to run blood tests. Before this development there was no public health clinic available to adults, Tiburcio Vasquez also runs the pediatric Silva Clinic on Tennyson Road.
The project is funded by Alameda County and by its third year it will be self-sustaining in terms of funding. Its hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m for the clinic.