In 2011, husband and wife Scott Allen, M.D., and Emma Simmons, M.D., in partnership with the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine and the Riverside University Health System (RUHS), opened The Access Clinic in Moreno Valley for adults with developmental disabilities. The Riverside Community Health Foundation and the Inland Empire Health Plan also serve as community partners.

“With its focus on a profoundly underserved patient population, the clinic’s purpose aligns with our mission to improve the health status of all members of our community,” said Daniel Anderson, the president and chief executive officer of the Riverside Community Health Foundation.

RUHS consists of a large medical center in Moreno Valley used to house and provide care to 439 patients, 10 federally qualified health centers including a community-based behavioral health center, and other specialty clinics throughout Riverside County.

The Access Clinic is a unique addition to the medical center and resides within the main medical center in Moreno Valley. The clinic currently sees approximately 150 patients and treats adults with developmental disabilities such as diabetes, seizures, cerebral palsy and autism.

Allen and Simmons developed the clinic in order to meet a previously underdeveloped access to healthcare in underserved communities within the Inland Empire. The couple has a 22-year-old son with developmental disabilities and when the family moved to Riverside five years ago, they did not find a clinic able to provide proper and complex care required for their son.

“We had conversations with RUHS, the Inland Empire Health Plan, UC Riverside and others. The result was a clinic within the family medicine clinic at RUHS. We’re immensely grateful to RUHS for giving us the space and staff,” commented Allen.

Allen and Simmons worked on obtaining grants to further improve the clinic. One of the clinic’s examination rooms has a ceiling track lift installed for patients who are unable to get in and out of bed. The clinic also has a portable wheelchair scale, wide exam tables and a full-time nurse case manager on staff.

Additionally, funding and financing is set up in an innovative and unique way, allowing patients more trips to the clinic; Allen and Simmons worked with the Inland Empire Health Plan in order to gain high reimbursement rates, a system allowing patients more visits.

Melissa Seinturier, the case manager, hopes to see the successful clinic replicated and implemented around California, filling a previous void in healthcare.

“There is a big need for clinics like this one … This is not a routine clinic, after all. We see patients even outside the clinic, in their cars sometimes. Every day is a challenge, and completely different from other days gone by,” said Seinturier.