The Southside Coalition Story

It all began with a conversation.

In 2003, a couple of CEOs of community health centers serving South Los Angeles began meeting informally to discuss some of the common challenges they faced as safety net providers.

Their challenges were unique to the South Los Angeles community that they served:

  • Their patients exhibited significantly higher rates of many chronic diseases and preventable hospitalizations than patients in other local populations.
  • They battled an ongoing shortage of primary care and specialty care providers willing to practice in the area.
  • Wait times of six months to a year (or longer) for patients to get appointments for specialty care were not uncommon.
  • Patients were victimized by violence in their neighborhoods at greater rates than residents in other areas.
  • King/Drew, the hospital that served most patients in the area, was failing and eventually closed.
  • Despite greater local health care needs, the area, historically, received lower levels of funding from local, state, and federal sources.

Word spread, and soon more local community health center CEOs asked to join the conversations. They quickly recognized the value of raising a unified voice for the health care needs of South Los Angeles.

Conversations soon gelled into a committed coalition.

The Southside Coalition Takes Shape

So, in May 2004, seven Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) joined to establish the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers. Together, they would raise one unified voice for the health care needs of South Los Angeles. Each signed an agreement to respect the others’ patients and goals. Richard Veloz, CEO of South Central Family Health Center, explains, “We look at actions everyone can benefit from without interfering with our own strategic goals.”

In March 2007, the coalition incorporated and later that year, in September, received 501(c)(3) designation.

Today, the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers is a network of eight FQHCs, representing more than 45 community- and school-based health clinics serving the South Los Angeles region (SPA 6). The Southside Coalition comprises the largest community clinic safety net in South Los Angeles. Collectively, in 2018, our members provided 899,576 primary care visits to 211,602 (unduplicated) residents from the South Los Angeles area. Twenty-four percent of the patients were uninsured.

Strategically, our work is centered on supporting our member clinics in balancing expanded primary care for the newly insured and the residually uninsured; development of integrated systems of care between hospitals and safety net providers in the service area to improve care coordination for patients; supporting our member clinics in helping patients sustain health coverage enrollment; assisting our member clinics in maintaining recognition as Patient Centered Medical Homes; connecting our member clinics with other community based organizations, colleges and universities to better serve and provide additional resources to patients; working with our member clinics in the area of workforce development to recruit and retain staff who are committed to working with vulnerable populations.

Our Mission

The Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers is a non-profit organization established to sustain, coordinate and improve health care access and delivery to the impoverished and vulnerable community members of South Los Angeles.

Our Vision

Through our efforts, the South Los Angeles community will see improved health care that:

  • Is networked to build capacity
  • Is focused to strengthen access to primary and preventive care, health promotion, and health education
  • Eliminates health disparities