September 6, 2016

To address health care gaps in the safety net particularly among low-income populations, Alameda County Health Care Services has put forth an innovative proposal to co-locate medical clinics at fire stations throughout the County.

Known as Firehouse Clinics, these health centers will provide an accessible, holistic source of care for thousands of publicly insured, uninsured, and underinsured residents. In addition to benefiting target populations, the Firehouse Clinics are intended to divert low acuity health issues away from overburdened, high-cost Emergency Department settings. Fire Station Health Centers will also tap into the underutilized medical skill-set and trusted reputation of firefighters.

With funding from the California HealthCare Foundation, Public Architecture has provided design strategy services to support HCSA’s efforts. Our first phase of work was the development of a framework to assist HCSA in understanding the costs, constraints, and opportunities associated with Health Portal co-location at fire station sites. This framework guided the development of a shortlist of candidate fire station sites. Public Architecture then received a second grant to develop a series of “City Reports” include physical site assessments of the candidate fire station sites as well as analyses of the health and service needs of the municipalities in which they are located. With a goal of understanding which of the candidate fire station sites are most appropriate, the reports will serve as a tool to solicit the support and assistance of City Councils, stakeholders, and community members.

Armed with a promotional website and an executable design, Public Architecture and Alameda County Health Care Services Agency are sharing the vision for the firehouse clinics with communities across the nation. The dream that began in Alameda County of providing efficient, culturally relevant care to people who have historically gone without has the potential to really catch fire.

| | | | | | | |