If you need to visualize Fresno’s health care access issue, look where urgent cares are

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) — The southern half of Fresno is getting two new urgent care clinics, doubling the amount currently available.

It’s the latest showing of how much health care access lacks in southern Fresno neighborhoods. But, some things are in the pipeline to help improve the situation.

For the last decade, United Health Centers has not only been expanding in the central San Joaquin Valley — but also the city of Fresno.

Its third clinic, located on Tuolumne and P streets, will be offering a wide-range of services, including optometry and a full-service pharmacy. Same for its fourth location, at Blackstone and Olive avenues, which will also have dental and chiropractic services.

As a Federally Qualified Health Center, not only are most insurances accepted at UHC locations, but the uninsured are also welcomed to stop in for treatment.

“For as little as $20, someone could come in, see the doctor, get their lab work done…get everything they need. Also get their medication at an extremely discounted rate,” said Justin Preas, Deputy CEO for UHC.

The north-south health care access divide in Fresno is really illustrated when looking where urgent care clinics are. Right now, there are only two from Shields Avenue down to the city’s southern border.

This divide has really been exacerbated in the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interactive map we created, you can see higher COVID-19 infection rates in the city’s southern zip codes.

For Yolanda Randles, the executive director for the West Fresno Family Resource Center, this topic is a tired one that her community knows too well.

“Year after year, there’s surveys conducted, focus groups conducted. [They say], ‘We want to hear from the community,'” Randles said. “It’s the same, every single year: economic development, green space, access to health care.”

Randles is hopeful with Fresno City Council recently approving the DAWN initiative that change will finally come. With the help of Fresno EOC, west Fresno advocates will be addressing COVID-19 and other health issues like preterm birth rates over the next five years.

DAWN will also help create a women’s clinic in that part of town.

While those developments are still years away, for Randles, she’s happy that “at least we’re starting to have a conversation.”

UHC’s new clinic at Tuolumne and P streets is slated to open in September. The other location by Blackstone and Olive avenues is set to open in October.

You can find out more about what the DAWN initiative plans to accomplish by clicking here.

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