Lyon-Martin Health Services Unveils New Plan for Long Term Sustainability and Growth

This week, the Board and Staff of Lyon-Martin Health Services announced they are exploring a potential merger with HealthRIGHT 360—a family of health centers and behavioral health programs serving communities throughout California. The proposed merger between these local community health organizations signals a positive step towards sustainability and growth for Lyon- Martin. The partnership will enable both organizations to maintain and expand culturally competent primary care and behavioral health services to women, lesbians and transgender people.

“Last year, Lyon-Martin’s board and executive staff began examining a variety of options that went beyond simply keeping our doors open in a continually challenging environment,” said Dr. Marj Plumb, Chair of the Board of Lyon-Martin Health Services. “This long-term solution allows our mission to flourish—reaching far more patients within our community. We’ve found an ideal partner in HealthRIGHT 360, an organization that believes in who we are and in our future,” Plumb added.

While preserving each organization’s unique specializations and orientation to care, the strategic alliance will bolster both groups in the changing landscape of healthcare under the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“This partnership will enable our staff and volunteers to focus on what we do best: serving the diverse health needs of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities,” shared Dr. Dawn Harbatkin, Executive Director of Lyon-Martin Health Services. “The health care environment has changed drastically in recent years with increased regulatory and administrative requirements. Joining the HealthRIGHT 360 family will provide us the financial support and infrastructure we need to meet these requirements, stabilize and sustain the health center for the long-term, and strengthen both organizations’ missions.”

Lyon-Martin Health Services faced an organizational crisis in 2011 when it was revealed that significant debt threatened to close the organization. Since 2011, new management and a new Board of Directors have been working tirelessly to make necessary changes and rebuild the health center’s viability. Despite these efforts and a remarkable outpouring of support from the community, numerous challenges such as changes to a city contract, the sale of the building which houses the health center, and increasing administrative and regulatory burdens required a new approach.

HealthRIGHT 360 has a long history of serving marginalized communities with robust, accessible and culturally responsive care. The nonprofit organization offers specialized services for women and women with children, as well as the only residential recovery program for transgender individuals in California. In the fiscal year that ended June 2013, HealthRIGHT 360 provided direct services to 23,911 individuals, offering 45 different programs in 6 California counties.

“As a proud lesbian and long-time admirer of Lyon-Martin Health Services, I’m excited to welcome the health center to HealthRIGHT 360,” commented Dr. Vitka Eisen, CEO of HealthRIGHT 360. “Given the current economic climate facing community health programs, we believe our programs will be stronger together. Bringing Lyon-Martin into the HR360 family gives us the opportunity to expand and enrich care for women and LGBTQ individuals.”

The Board of Directors for each organization will vote on the proposed merger later this month. Lyon- Martin Health Services will retain its name and current location at 1748 Market Street in San Francisco. No disruptions or changes in service will be experienced by Lyon-Martin patients, who will continue to receive care from the same providers.

Members of the community are invited to learn more about this proposed plan at a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 22, at 6:30 pm at the SF LGBT Center. For more information about each organization online, please see www.lyon-martin.org and www.healthright360.org

Source: Lyon-Martin Health Services