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Making the pain go away

Kaiser Permanente grants funds and partners with Operation Access to provide free surgeries for people in need. Pictured, clinicians gather for a group photo at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek.

For the past year, San Pablo resident Yolanda Trujillo has had trouble lifting her 3-year-old daughter because of a painful hernia.

Trujillo was one of 21 low-income and uninsured adults who recently received a free surgery or other specialty care procedures, including coloscopies, at the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center on Feb. 4.

“It has been so painful for me,” she said in Spanish through a translator. “I had a cough that got inflamed, and that led to the hernia. I’m so thankful to be here today. I’ve had great service, and I’ve been treated well by very good people.”

A $360,000 commitment

Kaiser Permanente partners with Operation Access to provide surgical and other specialty care to low-income and uninsured adults on Super Saturday Surgery Days, and by individual appointments nearly every month.

In addition to providing the no-cost care, a 2-year $360,000 grant from a Kaiser Permanente fund at the East Bay Community Foundation is supporting Operation Access’ Donated Surgical & Specialty Care Program. 

During its 30-year partnership with Operation Access, Kaiser Permanente has provided more than 12,000 surgeries and other specialty care procedures.

The program coordinates with 76 medical facilities, including many Kaiser Permanente medical centers, to provide no-cost care to people in need.

During its 30-year partnership with Operation Access, Kaiser Permanente has provided more than 12,000 surgeries and other specialty care procedures.

“Through our long partnership with Kaiser Permanente, Operation Access provides a model for medical volunteerism locally,” said Operation Access Program Director Ali Balick. “By providing prompt access to care, we reduce emergency room visits, save patients from pain and disability, and improve health outcomes throughout our community.”

More than 80 volunteers

In Walnut Creek, more than 80 Kaiser Permanente physicians, nurses, and staff members volunteered their time and skills to perform surgical procedures, including colonoscopies, hernia repairs, tonsillectomies, bunionectomies, and urology procedures.

Walnut Creek general surgeon Anita Chiu, MD, volunteered with Operation Access when she was a teenager. Her dad was a nurse at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, and she remembers hoping to become a surgeon one day.

“We are proud to partner with Operation Access to provide critical health care services for people in our community who otherwise wouldn’t have access to this care,” Dr. Chiu said. “This is such an important day not only for these patients, but for the physicians, nurses, and staff members who generously donate their time to help others in need.”

Juan Salvador was treated for a hernia that day, too. A professional cook, he had been in pain for several months.

“It’s hard sometimes to lift heavy pots and pans in the kitchen,” Salvador said in Spanish through a translator. “I’m so grateful to Kaiser Permanente and Operation Access. I don’t have the resources to pay for a surgery like this, so I’d like to say thank you to all of my doctors and nurses.”


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you, Kaiser, for make this care possible for those who can’t afford the cost of insurance. My thanks to the staff for providing this care. We all need to care for one another….

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