The History of WellSpace Health

WellSpace Health emerged as a regional presence through the braiding of multiple organizations. Our tagline, ‘comprehensive care since 1953,’ and 65th Anniversary are nods to our origin as The Family Service Agency of Greater Sacramento (FSA). FSA was a mental health treatment and prevention organization considered to be “the general practitioner of social service agencies” focused on the multiple consequences of a torn social fabric. Many of the original FSA treatment, child abuse prevention, and suicide prevention and crisis line services continue to this day following a merger with The Effort in 2005. The Aquarian Effort (later The Effort) was started at the beginning of 1970 as a Free Clinic with services providing “a realistic approach to the drug problem” of the day, reflecting the core origins of a health clinic and what has become a full continuum of mental health and substance use disorders treatment, and was the sole charitable recipient around which Sacramento’s infamous Eppie’s Great Race was created.

The Effort changed its Free Clinic to a Community Clinic once multiple ‘care transition’ programs were successfully drawing low income persons in to consistent and preventive health care versus episodic emergency-care in the region’s health systems, and merged in The Birth and Family Health Center in 2006 to offer comprehensive perinatal care. In 2009 The Effort achieved designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), solidifying its role as a health care provider for the region’s least fortunate. In 2013 The Effort became WellSpace Health followed by mergers of Health Care for Women, Professional Health Care for Women, Strategies for Change, and multiple Nivano Health clinics.

As a broad spectrum social service provider, the organization’s subsequent development had twin goals of expansion and integration; expansion to meet the needs of the region’s low income populations, and integration of services within the organization to deliver a synergy of care. Between the end of 2009 and 2017 the primary care population increased from 3,000 to 70,000 patients now served in 15 full time Community Health Centers in Sacramento, Placer, and Amador counties. Along with full scope primary care for all ages, other health service lines include child and adolescent dental, comprehensive women’s health and perinatal care, Integrated Behavioral Health practice in the Health Centers, and expanded behavioral health treatment, prevention and early intervention around the social determinants of health all held together by a sophisticated and well documented quality assurance infrastructure (with Ambulatory and Behavioral Health accreditations from The Joint Commission as well as Certification as a Patient Centered Medical Home).

With a mission of “achieving regional health through high quality comprehensive care,” WellSpace Health has gone about replacing the safety net with a true blanket of care. We proudly continue to weave this blanket to be wider and stronger, and welcome your partnership.

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