SSF Kaiser Permanente and Operation Access Provide Colonoscopies and Endoscopies to Uninsured Residents

May 11th, 2023 – South San Francisco, CA – Submitted by Karl Sonkin


Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco partnered with Operation Access recently to provide 20 colonoscopies and endoscopies to sixteen low-income, uninsured Bay Area residents.

More than 30 physicians, nurses, and staff volunteered their time and services on Saturday, April 29 to provide these critical screenings, said Wendy Evangelista, RN, Assistant Medical Group Administrator at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco.

A grant from a Kaiser Permanente fund at the East Bay Community Foundation supports Operation Access’ Donated Surgical & Specialty Care Program, which includes procedures that were performed in South San Francisco and future surgeries at other Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals.

Amit Kamboj, MD, was one of two gastroenterologists who volunteered his time.

“It’s a great way to just give back to the community,” Kamboj said. “There’s so many people out there who need medical care and they don’t have access to it. It’s really unfortunate.”

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and more than half of all deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented through regular screenings.

Surgeons removed pre-cancerous polyps from some patients. Other patients were found to have a bacterial infection in their stomach, which if left untreated, can lead to ulcers or in some cases stomach cancer.

Any patient who needed ongoing treatment was referred back to Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco for care.

One patient expressed gratitude for the care he was provided: “I am extremely grateful to everyone and for the support I have been provided through Operation Access. Our health does not have a price, it is the most important thing.”

Providing access to health care for low-income and uninsured people is an important part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of the communities it serves. During its 30-year-long partnership with Operation Access, Kaiser Permanente has provided more than 12,000 surgeries and other specialty care procedures to people in need. In 2022, Kaiser Permanente’s support provided surgeries and other specialty care to 631 low-income, uninsured adults.

This partnership increases access to critical specialty care services, such as gastroenterology, gynecology, orthopedics, and head and neck procedures for uninsured people. Referrals come from more than 100 community health centers.

“Through a 30-year partnership with Kaiser Permanente, Operation Access provides a model for medical volunteerism locally,” said Ali Balick, Operation Access Program Director. “By providing prompt access to care, we reduce emergency room visits, save patients from pain and disability, and improve health outcomes throughout our community.”

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