California's community clinics need help

One out of every six Californians receives care at a community clinic in our state. Community clincs often also provide dental, mental health, and other essential care, and they provide culturally-specific care to the diverse communities of our state. Clinics are a critical part of our healthcare safety net and without them, millions of Californians would have no access to basic and critical care.

Our community clinics have fallen into a crisis driven driven by understaffing, low pay, and sub-standard benefits for the essential workers keeping clinics running—all of which impacts timely access to care for our patients. California has made progress, but without improvements to our state’s safety net care we can’t fully deliver on the promise of providing access to healthcare for our vulnerable residents.

Most clinic staff are from the communities they serve. We love the work we do, but long hours, poor pay and benefits, and not having a collective voice in improving care has taken a toll that has led to high turnover. Now with the physical exhaustion and trauma of working during the pandemic we are seeing workers leaving clinic jobs for better opportunities. COVID-19 has shined a light on the dramatic health disparities for low income, immigrant, and Black and Brown Californians—communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

In 2022, we secured $70 million in recruitment and retention bonuses but we know that to address the long-standing problems facing our clinics, we have to continue to speak out and demand more for our patients and for the dedicated healthcare workers at our clinics.

A $25/hour statewide healthcare minimum wage

With the physical exhaustion and trauma of working during the pandemic we are seeing workers leaving clinic jobs for better opportunities. Last year, we introduced legislation to raise wages for clinic workers and in 2023, we’re joining together with healthcare workers from nursing homes, hospitals, and medical groups to stand up and speak out to pass SB 525 (Durazo). SB 525 would create the nation’s first statewide healthcare minimum wage of $25/hour to help solve the healthcare worker shortage.

Transparency and Accountability

Despite receiving hundreds of millions in public funding annually, there are few reporting requirements on how clinics use this funding to improve care or address ongoing workforce retention and recruitment challenges. SB 779 (Stern) ensures that California has publicly accessible and accurate data on how community clinics are addressing patient care and health equity.

Empowering Clinic Workers

Clinic workers understand the root of the problems that they and their patients face every day. Clinic workers are joining together in a union, demanding a seat at the table with clinic executives so that workers can have a say in the decisions that impact patient care, in addition to having the opportunity to bargain for decent pay and benefits.