Better Health Pharmacy
California's first and only surplus drug re-use pharmacy offers free prescription medication for Santa Clara County residents with a valid ID and prescription. As a State Legislator, Supervisor Simitian worked to legalize safe redistribution of unopened prescription medications from those who no longer need them, to those who very much do. Disposal of unused medications costs an estimated $100 million annually in California alone, while nearly one quarter of American adults skip prescriptions due to cost, which leads to worsened health outcomes. In 2019, the Community Benefits Program of El Camino Hospital and El Camino Healthcare District awarded $50,000 in 2019 to help more county residents access the drugs they need.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public places
Supervisor Simitian proposed that the County fund a pilot project in Mountain View placing AEDs within city buildings and schools, increasing the chances of a person surviving a heart attack. The successful pilot led to unanimous Board approval for a countywide program in partnership with the nonprofit, Racing Hearts. AEDs are now at strategic locations around the County, including in all Sheriff patrol cars, and of all Santa Clara County schools.
Community Health Worker program to support Asian American and Pacific Islander health
Supervisor Simitian has long championed expanded services for Asian-American residents. He secured approval to fund enlarging the health clinic at Asian Americans for Community Involvement, which doubled the clinic's annual patient visits. Supervisor Simitian also led the Board in requesting an assessment of health disparities within Asian communities.
In 2020, acting on the findings from the assessment, Supervisor Simitian drafted a referral that was approved by the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. This created a Community Health Worker program for the Asian and Pacific Island communities. This program enables local community health workers to connect people with appropriate social and health services. Removing cultural and linguistic barriers in both reaching and servicing the communities allows for greater access, leading to better health outcomes.
Improved services at MayView
MayView Community Health Center, part of Ravenswood Family Health Network, serves primarily low-income, uninsured residents in North County. At Supervisor Simitian’s urging, the County has funded an OB/GYN physician and nurse-practitioner to provide perinatal care at all three clinic locations, as well as financial assistance to increase MayView’s ability to hire and retain providers.
Planned Parenthood partnership, Mountain View
Supervisor Simitian led the Board in developing a partnership with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to augment health care services in North County since District Five was the only supervisorial district without a County health clinic. In early 2022, the County opened a specialty care clinic and pharmacy at Planned Parenthood's new facility in Mountain View. Planned Parenthood provides primary health care and reproductive health services, while the County provides complementary services that might otherwise not be readily available in North County.
Dental services in North County
Urged on by Supervisor Simitian, who called dental service a “have to have” not a “nice to have” component of health care, the County Board of Supervisors approved the leasing of dental office space in Mountain View which opened in September 2020. This expansion of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center will reduce the long wait times for dental appointments for adults and seniors at the Sunnyvale location as well as help the County accomplish the State Dept. of Health’s initiative to increase the number of children receiving preventive care by 10% over the next five years.
Bringing health clinics to the North County and West Valley
When Supervisor Simitian encouraged the Board of Supervisors to bring County-run health services to the North County and West Valley communities he represents, District Five was the only supervisorial district without a County health clinic. In early 2022, the County opened a specialty care clinic and pharmacy at Planned Parenthood's Mountain View facility. Joe has introduced referrals to bring primary care clinics to the North County and the West Valley. Most recently, the County has leased a space in Palo Alto for the North County clinic, while De Anza College has signed a letter of interest for a West Valley clinic site that will be followed by a feasibility study.
Expanding healthcare coverage for the "Missing Middle"
After expanding health care to lower-income residents through the Affordable Care Act and other programs, Supervisor Simitian grew increasingly concerned about the “missing middle”, residents who did not benefit from government programs or could not afford the premiums and co-pays for their employer-provided insurance. With this in mind, Simitian worked closely with County administration to create programs that subsidize health care and mental health costs for residents.
Protecting women’s reproductive rights
An advocate and partner to Planned Parenthood in the County, at the urging of Supervisor Simitian, the Board of Supervisors affirmed its support for reproductive freedom and choice. The action results from the US Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health and the “hostile action” by state legislatures around the country to restrict reproductive freedoms. Learn more about the Board’s work to support women’s reproductive freedom.
Trauma informed services for sexual-assault survivors
Supervisor Simitian pushed to expand services to the North County for those who seek care after sexual assault by having a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) team and rape crisis advocates at Stanford Hospital. The new response location operates 24-hours a day with specially trained Santa Clara Valley Medical Center SAFE nurses on-call to perform the exams. Prior to this North County location, exams were primarily conducted at Valley Medical Center in San Jose.
Supporting those who need lifesaving medications
Diabetes, asthma, and severe allergies are chronic, lifelong, and common conditions that can be well managed with proper treatment. No one should have to break the bank in order to afford that treatment—or go without, with potentially catastrophic consequences. That’s why Supervisor Simitian led the County’s effort to create and launch MedAssist, a program that covers the cost of life-saving medications for qualifying residents with these conditions.