Update 4:55 p.m. with medical assistants' comments
It may not have been able to set up shop at its intended location on El Camino Real, but Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM) will still be able to provide health care services to the community. A mobile medical van stationed at 2500 Middlefield Road in unincorporated Redwood City opened today.
“It’s a great day for those in San Mateo County and Redwood City who were disappointed that we were not able to provide that stand-alone health center,” said spokesperson Patsy Montgomery. “It’s a fill-in process until we can find a more permanent location.”
The city a conditional use permit for the 2980 El Camino Real location, spaces. The clinic had planned to rent nine additional spaces from Enterprise Rent-a-Car across the street, but representatives said that they had never formally signed a contract. Planned Parenthood for the location before the city council had a chance to review for approving the clinic.
But Planned Parenthood had been working simultaneously with San Mateo County’s Department of Health and Human Services to “fill gaps” in the health care system.
“Rather than spending hard earned dollars to litigate this issue, we wanted to spend money on direct services,” Montgomery said. “The people of Redwood City wanted and needed us.”
The van already had seven patients by 3 p.m. with a few more trickling in, according to medical assistant Karol Gonzalez, 29. The van will be at 2500 Middlefield Road every Tuesday until January, when it plans to open up two to three times a week, said medical assistant, Jorge Martinez, 28. He said they were trying to relieve pressure from the other clinics.
The van provides the following services: contraceptive services, including emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, STI testing and treatment and HIV testing. However, Montgomery said they are still searching for a permanent location so they can provide primary care to infants all the way to seniors.
“The plan for the other site was a huge loss to the residents of Redwood City who still need preventative care,” Montgomery said. “But we will continue looking because we are dedicated to this community.”
The van location will continue indefinitely as long as the community needs their services, Martinez added.
“Who knows how long we’ll be here?” Martinez said. “ As long as the community needs us.