wchealth.org. This decision is based on pending changes to the State’s vaccine distribution system, which is administered by Blue Shield as it’s Third-Party Administrator. West County Health Centers and all FQHC’s (Federally Qualified Health Centers) in Sonoma County will be participating with the state’s new Third-Party Administrator arrangement in the second phase starting on March 7th. This arrangement includes the requirement to transition to the “My Turn” appointment scheduling platform, which is being piloted this week. " />
West County Health Centers (WCHC) has made a strategic decision to change our appointment scheduling for the West County Community Vaccination Clinics, which offer a vaccine solution for residents who live, work, or whose primary care medical home is in western Sonoma County. The decision to switch to direct outreach from our health centers, primary care practices and organizations employing essential workers in the eligibility tiers was made to help prioritize the most vulnerable to vaccinate first. This change will replace the open self-scheduling, which was previously available on our website wchealth.org. This decision is based on pending changes to the State’s vaccine distribution system, which is administered by Blue Shield as it’s Third-Party Administrator. West County Health Centers and all FQHC’s (Federally Qualified Health Centers) in Sonoma County will be participating with the state’s new Third-Party Administrator arrangement in the second phase starting on March 7th. This arrangement includes the requirement to transition to the “My Turn” appointment scheduling platform, which is being piloted this week.
WCHC will use direct outreach to further prioritize our vaccinations for those with the highest risk or the most pressing strategic need as an essential worker and allow those with access to vaccination through their primary care provider at Sutter, Kaiser, or Providence St. Joseph, to seek that through them. Our previous method, with the PrepMod software, provided no mechanism to screen at the appointment creation and allowed anyone to sign up. This created many appointments with those who did not meet the eligibility criteria. Our new appointment scheduling system allows for prioritization of high risk or vulnerable individuals within the eligible tiers and ensure that the eligibility criteria is met.
West County Health Centers continues to work closely with Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Sonoma County Office of Education, 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, and other community leaders, who share our interest in equity and partnership within the vaccine distribution. WCHC will continue to operate two community vaccination sites in western Sonoma County, one located at Guerneville Elementary School and the other at Analy High School in Sebastopol, but we are aware of the potential for a radically different next phase in which it’s possible that WCHC may continue to experience disruption based on vaccine shortages if larger volume sites are prioritized.
Vaccine Scarcity: The existing vaccine allotment from the state was less for the first time the week of February 15th as other counties throughout the state that are in the first phase of the third-party administrator roll-out received more doses and the winter storms limited distribution of promised vaccines. WCHC will continue to follow the tiered system of distribution as put forth by state and federal guidelines. For information on the tiers, please visit: https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/vaccine-information/phase-1-details/.
West County Health Centers’ goal is to offer as many vaccinations as we can, depending on available vaccine supply. Demand for vaccination appointments is high with over 1,100 people signing up within 2 hours when appointments were first opened up using our previous self-scheduling system. WCHC has received 24 state funded SNAP Nurses to help with this effort and we are able to continue to operate our community vaccination clinics with the help of 40+ community volunteers, and many of our dedicated WCHC staff including Dr. Rain Moore our Chief Medical Officer and Community Vaccination Lead. To date WCHC has administered a total of 5,600 vaccines including 905 essential workers and 313 second doses. Our highest volume day was at the Guerneville School community vaccination site with 478 vaccinations given and contingent on vaccine supply 3,200 doses will be administered this week. Through WCHC’s collaboration with organizations including the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Sonoma County Grape Growers, Sonoma County Vintners, and other essential worker employers we estimate that we have vaccinated or have scheduled to vaccinate about 85% of the vineyard workers in western Sonoma County.
Patients who are eligible for vaccination include persons who are 65 and older or fall into the eligibility criteria for essential workers. Further, vaccinations are reserved for persons who live and work in the west Sonoma county or have a primary care provider who is in western Sonoma County. Due to the constraints of vaccine distribution, which include verification of eligibility and proof of western Sonoma County residency, WCHC has switched to a direct outreach system for scheduling. West County Health Centers and our community partners are committed to an equitable distribution of no cost COVID-19 vaccines to our rural communities, including our most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
West County Health Centers is accepting donations from people who want to help support our efforts to provide COVID-19 community vaccination clinics and patient care. Please visit https://www.wchealth.org/help/donations/ to donate online or checks may be mailed to: West County Health Centers, PO BOX 1449, Guerneville, CA 95446
THANK YOU to the following Sponsors who have supported lunches 6 days a week for our Vaccine Volunteers: WestAmerica Bank, Gallagher Insurance, Codding Foundation, Patrick & Kelly Pennington- Stearns Lending, Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc., Sonoma Clean Power, The Press Democrat, Sonoma County Vintners, Pacific Market, Hansel Auto Group, Mount Jackson Masonic Lodge and Northwood Golf Course.
West County Health Centers remains the sole provider of primary medical services for the unincorporated areas of western Sonoma County and one of the few providers of dental and behavioral health services available to Medi-Cal recipients. For over 45 years West County Health Centers has provided health care services to the entire community including those who are not accepted elsewhere due to HIV/AIDS, homelessness, mental illness, or addiction; those in the community who lack the financial resources to pay for quality health care, as well as many others including medically vulnerable and underserved seniors, working families, and teens. No patient is turned away from West County Health Centers for lack of funds.
Ensuring the sustainability of West County Health Centers and safeguarding access to primary medical care, dental and integrated behavioral health services has become even more critical in western Sonoma County as we continue to face a global pandemic in the wake of recovery from numerous federally declared natural disasters.
West County Health Centers envisions healthy communities building relationships and partnerships that support health and wellbeing for all people. West County Health Centers’ mission is to provide comprehensive, quality, and accessible health care services to the communities of western Sonoma County. We are a cohesive team of health care providers, support staff, and volunteers dedicated to wellness, compassion, affordability, and excellence of care. We believe in non-judgmental and equal care for all members of our diverse community.
West County Health Centers is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving 15,000 patients in western Sonoma County with (7) sites located in Guerneville, Occidental, Sebastopol, and Forestville. West County Health Centers service area covers 750 square miles stretching from Fort Ross to Valley Ford and from the Pacific coastline into Sebastopol, with an estimated population of 60,000 people.West County Health Centers operates seven sites in western Sonoma County including: Russian River Health Center, Occidental Area Health Center, Gravenstein Community Health Center, Third Street House, Forestville Wellness Center, Forestville Teen Clinic and Sebastopol Community Health Center & Dental Clinic. Information and updates will be posted regularly on the West County Health Centers website www.wchealth.org .