Senior health-care services on the rise 

A new door to medical care for low-income seniors could open in northern San Mateo County, if plans for a new clinic are pushed through.

Officials at the county-run Ron Robinson Senior Care Center want approval to open a new clinic in Daly City two days a week, add home visits and hire more personnel at the senior center’s main offices at the publicly funded San Mateo Medical Center.

With many seniors forced to wait up to three months for appointments at the popular, one-stop senior clinic, expansion is a no-brainer, according to county Supervisor Adrienne Tissier.

The fact that the county’s over-65 population is projected to soar 40 percent, from 97,000 in 2005 to about 159,000 in 2020, only underscores the need, officials said.

Many seniors in the north are missing out on much-needed care because the clinic, in San Mateo, is so far away or because they don’t know about it, Tissier said.

"Seniors in the north should have the same access to head-to-toe examinations as their southern counterparts," Tissier said.

"I think it would be great to get [a senior clinic] up here," said Sue Horst of the Doelger Senior Center in Daly City. Much like herself, most seniors in the north know next to nothing about the senior center or the services it offers, Horst said.

Almost half the county’s

low-income seniors live in northern San Mateo County, but only about 25 percent currently use the senior center, according to Dr. Susan Ehrlich, who oversees the center.

"I think it would be very beneficial, because the senior care center offers a full package of medical, psycho-social evaluation, dental and pediatrics," said Carolyn Thon, of the managed care program Health Plan of San Mateo.

The $575,000 expansion plan would not only add twice-a-week clinic visits at the Mike Nevin Health Center, but expand the three-physician home visits team with a new nurse practitioner and hire five additional personnel, including two geriatricians and a nurse at the main campus, San Mateo Medical Center CEO Nancy Steiger said.

The program is expected to cost $3.3 million to run annually while bringing in revenue of about $3.9 million, officials said.

Some services, including occupational and physical therapy, will still require visits to the main campus, San Mateo Medical Center spokesman Dave Hook said.

Supervisors are expected to vote on the proposal in the next couple of months, Hook said.

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