Dr. Charles Fenzi | Credit: Paul Wellman File

The Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) awarded the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics (SBNC) on June 20 with the 2019 Supporting the Safety Net Award. The national award, which was given at ACAP’s annual CEO Summit in Washington, D.C., recognizes community-based organizations for their above-and-beyond health-care services to low-income and vulnerable populations. 

The chief executive officer for SBNC, Dr. Charles C. Fenzi, accepted the award on behalf of SBNC at last Thursday’s event. “Our organization is delighted to be in a position to provide access to a large number of patients, for a large number of services,” said Fenzi. “Our providers are among the best in the nation and are assisted by an amazingly skilled and compassionate staff.” 

SBNC serves as a health-care safety net to more than 22,000 community members a year in Santa Barbara, regardless of their ability to pay. Nearly 30 percent of those patients are children, highlighting the startling statistic that Santa Barbara County has the highest child poverty rate in California and the third highest rate of poverty overall in the state. 

The clinics’ programs include a partnership with NYU Langone Hospital that focuses on chronic tooth decay in children and a Bridge Clinic program that serves as a support and referral service for at-risk adults with substance-use disorders. The clinic also employs “Wellness Navigators” who identify children with adverse childhood experiences and provide families with therapeutic and social-service interventions. 

SBNC has four medical clinics, two dental clinics, an integrated-care clinic, a substance-use-disorder clinic, and health-promotion services. In 2018, SBNC completed more than 80,000 visits with children and families, homeless adults, and uninsured patients. SBNC works to deliver culturally competent care to their minority patients by having bilingual medical assistants and providing extensive proficiency training for all staff members to ensure comfort for their transgender patients. 

“[SBNC] is a vital part of the safety net in Santa Barbara County,” said ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray, “and we couldn’t be prouder to recognize their commitment to their community.”


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