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Venice Family Clinic CEO Responds to Protests From Healthcare Workers

CEO Defends Decision to Close Local Pharmacy 

The Venice Family Clinic has responded regarding the intended closure of the pharmacy at the Colen Health Clinic.

In an emailed statement, Mitesh Popat, MD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of the Venice Family Clinic, stated, “To ensure its ongoing ability to provide care to more than 45,000 patients annually, Venice Family Clinic is consolidating its on-site pharmacy locations and closing its pharmacy at Irma Colen Health Center effective December 1. The Clinic’s two other pharmacies will remain open.

The decision to consolidate the Clinic’s pharmacy locations is rooted in our commitment to properly allocate limited resources so we can continue to provide vital services to the people we serve, regardless of their income, insurance, or immigration status. Over the past few years, changes to the 340B Drug Pricing Program and Medi-Cal program have resulted in substantial cuts to medication reimbursements and made it unsustainable to continue some pharmacy operations.

As a leading nonprofit community health center with over more than 50 years of history serving people in need across L.A. County, we remain deeply committed to our patients’ continued wellbeing. All other Clinic programs and services will remain ongoing, and our pharmacies in Venice and Santa Monica will continue to serve patients. Patients also have the option to use nearby retail pharmacies if they prefer.

The press representative of the Venice Family Clinic added via a second emailed statement, “Colen is Venice Family Clinic’s smallest and least utilized pharmacy. Only 1 in 4 patients at this location get their medications from that pharmacy. Venice Family Clinic has multiple options in place to help ensure these patients get their prescriptions. Patients may use our two other in-house pharmacies, or we can transfer their prescriptions to the pharmacy of their choice. We can also arrange for free transportation to our pharmacy or another community pharmacy, and if that doesn’t work, we can arrange for prescriptions to be delivered.

Venice Family Clinic is a leading nonprofit community health center with more than 50 years of history serving people in need, regardless of their income, insurance, or immigration status, across Los Angeles County. Our commitment to our mission and our patients’ well-being remains steadfast.

All other Clinic programs and services will remain ongoing, including our substance use services (SUMMIT). Our substance use counselor was underutilized at the Colen site, so our behavioral health department decided to move that counselor to another location with more patients who need substance use treatment support. But, our substance use services remain available for all patients of Venice Family Clinic, regardless of location where they receive primary care. These are available both in person and via telehealth.”

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