Camino Health Center, a San Juan Capistrano health center affiliated with
Mission Hospital, has opened a second site in San Clemente. Camino seeks
to improve the health of the area’s underserved through high-quality
medical services, adult dental services for established medical patients,
behavioral health services, and the federally-funded Women, Infants, and
Children (WIC) health and nutrition program. Camino will also open a third
health center in Lake Forest in the fall.
“There’s a widely believed misperception that Orange County,
particularly south Orange County, is a region of wealth,” said Debra
Drew, chief executive officer, Camino Health Center, which has helped
more than one million men, women and children in its more than thirty
years serving the community. “The reality is that twenty-four percent
of families in Orange County live in poverty. We have an ever-increasing
number of community members who have nowhere to go for affordable or no-cost
quality health care. Camino Health Center is bridging that gap and has
become their medical home.”
The expansion of services comes at a time when health care organizations
are focusing not only on caring for people when they’re sick but
preventing them from illness. Regular checkups, education about exercise
and eating nutritious foods, and caring for people mind, body and spirit
are among the focuses.
The 2,100-square-foot clinic at 1031 Avenida Pico addresses the broader
needs of wellness, offering a variety of services in a primary care setting,
including adult dental, behavioral health and nutritional counseling.
Designed with the dignity of the patient in mind, the new health center
features five exam rooms, including a talking room where patients can
sit with providers to get their questions answered, discuss medication
changes, or go over lab results.
Camino Health Center, which receives federal funds, has been designated
as a patient-centered medical home by the National Committee on Quality
Assurance (NCQA). Patient-centered medical homes are an alternative to
fragmented care and can improve the patient’s experience and can
lead to safer and better care, according to the NCQA.
Camino’s focus on serving its patients in the way patients want to
be served is augmented by the health center’s strong affiliation
and symbiotic relationship with Mission Hospital.
Because of the health center, patients who once would have gone to Mission
Hospital’s emergency department now have a medical home. The health
center is also a resource for patients discharged from Mission Hospital
who need follow-up care. Center providers and staff work closely with
clinicians at Mission Hospital to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured.
Mission Hospital provides grant money to Camino through its Care for the
Poor programs; and St. Joseph Health System, of which Mission Hospital
is a part, provides legal services, administrative support, and other
In the fall, Camino will also open a third licensed health center in Lake
Forest and will share a 20,000 square foot building with Mission Hospital’s
Family Resource Center. The licensed health center will also include expanded
services such as optometry. The Family Resource Center will double in
size from 5,000 square feet at its current location on Rockfield Boulevard
to 10,000 square feet in the new building. Camino does not currently have
a health center in Lake Forest, so the new building will allow Camino
to expand into these communities with few primary care services.
All Camino Health Center physicians are board-certified, and the center
staff speak 12 languages, allowing them to serve diverse populations.
“Everyone here has a calling for this work,” Drew said.
For more information about Camino Health Center: