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Local Doctors Volunteer to Give Hope to 34 Uninsured San Diegans

The SDCMS Foundation and Kaiser Permanente Partner to Deliver Free Surgeries During Saturday Surgery Day Program
Local Doctors Volunteer to Give Hope to 34 Uninsured San Diegans

Thirty-four San Diegans who had been suffering with pain, injury, lack of vision, and other debilitating conditions received free, life-changing medical treatment during Saturday Surgery Day on October 19 thanks to a partnership between the SDCMS Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. This Saturday Surgery Day, an important part of the Foundation’s Project Access San Diego (PASD), took place at Kaiser Permanente Garfield Specialty Center, 5893 Copley Dr., San Diego 92111. 

About 150 physicians and staff volunteered their time and expertise to provide medical care, including hernia repairs, gallbladder removals, and orthopedic and vascular surgeries for 14 patients. Additionally, 20 patients received diagnostic gastrointestinal procedures to prevent colorectal cancer. The day also featured a volunteer kick-off breakfast at 6:30am.

Saturday marked the 12th Saturday Surgery Day at Kaiser Permanente since Project Access’ inception in December 2009. To date, Kaiser Permanente has contributed over $2.25 million in donated services to Project Access San Diego.

Among the patients who benefited from Saturday Surgery Day is Ramiro Hernandez, a self-employed house painter and construction worker supporting his wife and six children. Ramiro had a double hernia repaired, allowing him to work without pain and regain his quality of life for the first time in over 20 years.

“Project Access San Diego has been laser-focused on enhancing the lives of underinsured or uninsured San Diegans since its inception in 2008,” said Barbara Mandel, executive director of the SDCMS Foundation. “To date, more than 2,250 patients have received free specialty care, including both inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures since Project Access San Diego’s inception in December 2008,” Mandel added.

According to Paul Bernstein, MD, FACS, San Diego-area medical director for Southern California Permanente Medical Group, “Our team of dedicated physicians routinely find Saturday Surgery Day one of the most rewarding programs of the year. Our goal is to do everything in our power to enhance the lives of those who are ill or injured. Saturday Surgery Day provides us with the ability to do just that: to use our talents to give back to San Diegans in need.”

To qualify for Project Access San Diego’s Saturday Surgery Day, an individual must live in San Diego County, be low-income, ineligible for public health programs, and be referred by their primary care physician. 

Click here to view videos of past Saturday Surgery Days.

About the SDCMS Foundation: Founded by the San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS) in 2005, the SDCMS Foundation is designed to address the unmet healthcare needs of low-income San Diego County residents who are uninsured or underinsured. The SDCMS Foundation focuses on increasing healthcare access, improving health education and prevention, and supporting physicians and medical students to improve the quality of care in our community. Through its flagship program, Project Access San Diego, the SDCMS Foundation has assisted over 1,800 patients to access specialty healthcare services. Healthcare partners, including over 625 specialty medical physicians, 25 hospitals and surgery centers, and numerous imaging, laboratory, and ancillary providers have provided patients with more than $5.6 million in donated healthcare services. Click here for more information about SDCMS Foundation.

About Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of healthcare. We are recognized as one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente began serving San Diego in 1967, and currently provides care for more than 515,000 members throughout the county. Over 7,700 staff and more than 1,100 physicians care for our members at 24 medical facilities; Kaiser Permanente’s San Diego Medical Center, which has 414 licensed beds and a 78-bed emergency department; and Palomar Medical Center, our plan hospital in North County. To learn more, click here

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