Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 16, 2011

Holiday Fund: Axis needs are greater than ever

Numbers served continue to grow

by Glenn Wohltmann

Axis Community Health is bursting at its seams.

The locally based health care provider is still seeing an increase in the numbers of people asking for assistance, despite official claims that the recession has ended.

"Last year we were enrolling 400 new patients a month, said Axis Chief Executive Officer Sue Compton. "Since July 1, we are now enrolling an average of 486 per month, which is a fairly significant increase over last year."

It's not just poor people either.

"The faces have changed dramatically. Twenty years ago the faces we'd see were predominantly low income," Compton said, adding that now, "it's more middle class or people looking for affordable medical care."

Axis opened its newly refurbished and expanded pediatric suite at its offices on Railroad Avenue in downtown Pleasanton on July 29, giving the organization two new exam rooms, less than two years after a major renovation of its adult medical clinic and the opening of a new women's health clinic. Still, serving 14,000 people a year, it needs more space.

"Because of the growth, we've also pushed a lot of our administrative functions offsite to a separate administration building that we are renting so we can use every single spot at this site for medical care," Compton said. "Our Railroad Avenue site and our Livermore clinic both are far beyond capacity, so we are in the process of buying a building in Pleasanton, which will double our capacity."

She expects that building to open by 2014.

Axis is one of the five local organizations that will receive money from this year's Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund, and Compton said her group is grateful to be included again.

"This year we really need it for adults. We don't have the resources to meet the growing needs of the community," she said. "Adult medical care is growing very rapidly. ... A lot of people have lost jobs, and when you lose your job you typically lose your medical care."

Providing medical care is just part of what Axis does. It also offers mental health services and addiction counseling -- two counselors were at the school district's recent forums on drug and alcohol use in schools, for example -- along with court-mandated alcohol and anger management classes and community health education.

Axis has an annual budget of $10 million. It's supported by local, state and federal funding, foundation grants, patient and clinic fees from those able to pay, and the help of individuals, families, foundations and the business community.

Among these, the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund is a regular contributor, with donations from our readers and matching funds from the Tri-Valley Community Foundation now totaling more than a quarter-million-dollars since the annual giving program was launched in 2002 with Axis as a charter beneficiary.

Despite its overcrowding, Axis serves every newcomer. It never turns anyone away, although the lines you see on weekday mornings show that there's usually a bit of a wait.

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