Only in recent years have the clinics of the Borrego Community Health Foundation emerged as a regional medical network in the inland region of San Diego and Riverside counties. Originally, a group of Borrego Springs citizens organized the foundation as a nonprofit benefit corporation when Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation bowed out of its nine-year ownership of Scripps Clinic-Borrego Springs in 1990. The 8,600-square-foot Scripps facility, built and equipped in 1982 with private donations, became known as the Borrego Medical Center.
In 2003, the medical center reached a major milestone when it became a Federally Qualified Health Center. Along with the renewable federal support came a new calling to extend comprehensive social and medical services to the surrounding desert region.
To reach those populations, the Borrego Community Health Foundation acquired fully operational clinics in Cathedral City, El Cajon, Julian, Coachella Valley and Thermal. In addition, the foundation opened a full-time pharmacy in central Borrego that dispenses medications to outlying clinics through daily messenger service.
The addition of these clinics, anchored with headquarters at the Borrego Medical Center, has significantly boosted patient visits and revenues from MediCAL, Medicare and private insurance providers. The Foundation continues to add clinics to its network, as opportunities arise.
Today the Borrego Community Health Foundation tailors primary and preventive health programs to meet the special needs of women, children, adolescents, senior citizens, immigrant farm workers, and those at risk of developing serious diseases such as diabetes. Without these and similar programs, many of the residents in this isolated desert region would have difficulty obtaining professional medical care.
Jan. 1, 1979 – Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation of La Jolla establishes a satellite clinic at the practice of local physician Dr. Floyd L. Woolcott at The Plaza in central Borrego Springs.
Feb. 3, 1981 -- Groundbreaking for a new Scripps Clinic satellite clinic at the entrance of Rams Hill Country Club. Almost five acres is donated by the Di Giorgio Corporation, with the Alphonse A. Burnand Foundation underwriting costs of designing, constructing and equipping the 8,600-square-foot, $1 million facility.
March 13 and 14, 1982 – Dedication and public open house of the new clinic at 4343 Yaqui Pass Road. A community fund-raising drive generates in excess of $448,000 for equipment and furnishings for the new clinic.
1988 – Woolcott Golf Tournament is inaugurated to help support clinic operations.
Aug. 1, 1990 – Satellite clinic closes indefinitely following the unexpected resignation of its medical director due to an injury. Scripps indicates that all assets will be transferred to a successor organization.
October 1, 1990 – The Borrego Community Health Foundation incorporates as a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and re-opens the Borrego Medical Center under its ownership and management.
May 1994 -- The Borrego Community Health Society incorporates as a not-for-profit organization designed to support health-care operations of the clinic through the establishment of an endowment fund. The society now contributes $300,000 annually to the medical center from interest in an endowment of approximately $6 million.
Jan. 1997 – Borrego Medical Services, a professional corporation, attempts to operate the Borrego Medical Center as a profit-making organization, but bows out at the end of the year when its one-year contract expires.
Oct. 14, 1998 – As part of an effort to stabilize financial support, the Borrego Medical Center becomes certified as a Rural Health Clinic eligible for federal grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.
September 2002 -- The Borrego Medical Center receives a $500,000 renewable grant from the Bureau of Primary Health Care, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. This grant provides funding for operation of the Borrego Medical Center as a Federally Qualified Health Center. The federal grant stipulates that the medical center assist underserved populations in isolated desert area.
2005 – The Borrego Community Health Foundation acquires clinics at Coachella Valley, Thermal and Julian.
2006 – Digital X-ray, technically known as computed radiography (CR), is introduced to the Borrego Medical Center as the result of a special gift from a group of residents at Montesoro Country Club. The newly formed Digital Radiology Department joins Telemedicine, a two-way video-conferencing technology, by offering fast, reliable imaging feedback to medical providers in other medical settings. Digital X-ray is now offered at several of the Borrego Community Health Center’s clinics.
Oct. 1, 2006 – Further boosting patient visits and revenues, the foundation purchases satellite clinics at Cathedral City and El Cajon.
Dec. 12, 2006 – New pharmacy opens at Borrego Medical Center using $100,000 donation, but quickly outgrows the facility.
August 2007 – Centro Medico-El Cajon becomes an urgent-care facility and moves across Magnolia Avenue into a 7,100-square-foot building. Initially, the clinic occupies less than half the structure, but two years later claims the entire complex following a major remodeling.
Oct. 2, 2007 -- Borrego Community Health Foundation opens new, larger pharmacy adjacent to the Woolcott Clinic at 655 Palm Canyon Dr., just in time to serve evacuees pouring into town from October firestorms sweeping San Diego County.
April 2009 -- Marking its debut in the field of pediatric dentistry, the Borrego Community Health Foundation acquires The Smile Factory Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the oral health of children residing in the desert region. Founded in 2000, The Smile Factory provides free screenings and dental treatment to about 20,000 school children a year.
July 2009 – i2i Tracks, a software management system that integrates clinical data from multiple sources, goes into operation at all BCHF clinics. I2i Tracks provides a comprehensive portrait of patient health records such as vitals, labs, medications, disease-specific measures and preventive options so providers can identify all the illnesses and treatments pertaining to any particular patient.
Aug. 8, 2009 – About 150 employees attend BCHF’s first annual company picnic at Ski Beach on San Diego’s Mission Bay.
Aug. 29, 2009 -- Julian Medical Foundation launches fund-raising drive to relocate the Julian Medical Clinic to a larger facility.
October 2009 -- Telemedicine equipment upgraded with 26-inch, flat-screen, high-definition, plasma monitors and peripheral equipment, thanks to “Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant” co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Oct. 15, 2009 – Mariachi music and folkloric dancing set the tone for an open house celebrating the Cathedral City Clinic’s expansion into a former 6,000-square-foot retail space that adjoins the existing facility. The expansion nearly doubles the clinic’s size, effectively paving the way to provide health services for a larger number of patients.
Oct. 19, 2009 – Mountain View Cottages, a new assisted-living facility opened by the BCHF in central Borrego Springs, receives licensing from the California Community Care Licensing Division. The public gets their first glimpse of the new five-bedroom, three-bath facility during an open house March 5, 2010.
November 2009 – Accounting, Information Technology, Payroll and Purchasing are the first departments to be moved from the Borrego Medical Center into new administrative offices at 655 Palm Canyon Dr., adjacent to the BCHF Pharmacy in downtown Borrego Springs. Key administration offices soon follow.
Dec. 20, 2009 – Quarterly newsletter published in four-page tabloid format that expands to eight pages with third issue. Employees dub it “Heartbeat” in Spring contest.
January 2010 – Electronic Health Records (EHR) go “live” by replacing paper charts and patient records at the Coachella clinic and then, in March, at the El Cajon clinic. Training continues as EHR replaces paper charts at all other clinics.
Feb. 2, 2010 – The Cathedral City clinic shatters records by processing 343 patients in a single day.