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LifeLong Medical Care’s Transition Clinic

Blog Contribution: LifeLong Medical Care

LifeLong Medical Care’s Transition Clinic offers help to recently released prisoners for whom the necessities of life outside can be more than daunting.

Based in LifeLong’s Downtown Oakland Health Center, known within LifeLong as “DOC,” the program receives referrals from prisons, jails, and parole offices for patients who have needs ranging from primary medical care, substance use treatment, counseling, and connections to other resources.

Most of these people who are coming out of incarceration have challenges with trust – Christina

“It’s an all-encompassing support for these folks,” says Center Director Christina Urias. “Learning how to navigate these very convoluted systems can be difficult. And so, their first point of contact with us is Kimberly.”

Christina is referring to Kimberly McBride, Transitions Clinic Case Manager, who’s been on the job for a mere three months but already has a caseload of 30 to 40 patients.

“Most of these people who are coming out of incarceration have challenges with trust,” Christina says. “And so, a lot of the good work that Kimberly is doing is establishing that trust, creating that rapport, trying to shift the mindset, understanding that we’re not a government entity. We’re here to serve them, to help them improve their health in any way we can – their mental health as well.”

The assistance former inmates receive at LifeLong goes way beyond healthcare.

“We help with housing and food. I check on their social status. Are they adjusting to society? Do they have support?” Kimberly says. “I help them with information about their parole, library services, other medical services that we may not be able to cover that they may need. We can deal with fathers trying to reunite with their children. We work with Bay Area Legal Aid to help with Social Security and other issues. So, it’s a big program.”

Kimberly is uniquely prepared to anticipate what these patients need because she herself served time in prison. “What most ex-incarcerated need to know is that you can meet them at any level they come at, and that you’re not afraid. But you’re not going to disrespect them either,” she says.

LifeLong’s is one of the re-entry clinics affiliated with the Transitions Clinic Network (TCN), a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to supporting people leaving incarceration. LifeLong’s program is run by Recovery Support and Re-Entry Program Manager Gale Sandoval. Erica Bass, MD, and Shevaun Lewallan, FNP, are the Transition Clinic’s providers, along with Medical Assistants Roneshia Ario and Araceli Cuatlatl and volunteer Maryann Osullivan.

“Together they form a dynamic team addressing the needs of returning community members,” says Gale Sandoval. “This team’s focus is to link patients to care upon their release and provide support and wraparound care in a way that not only feels safe but inviting.”

Kimberly tries to stay in contact with patients even after their healthcare needs are met.

“These people see that we’re not just focused on somebody once or twice and then when they leave us, we’re just done with them,” she says. “I need to make sure they’re getting what they need so they don’t fail.”

Learn more about LifeLong Medical Care HERE.