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El Cajon Urgent and Cardiac Center Opens in San Diego

Blue Shield Promise and Family Health Centers of San Diego bridge critical care gap
FHCSD El Cajon Photo 3
Kristen Cerf, CEO, and Jenn Schirmer, Vice President, Promise Health Plan

San Diego’s East County residents now have a more convenient and accessible option to address their urgent medical needs without going to the Emergency Department of a hospital. 

That’s because a $1 million grant from Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan has helped build - and open the doors to - the El Cajon Urgent and Cardiac Care Center operated by Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD), the county’s largest health center system serving the region’s low-income residents. The new Center delivers on both organizations’ commitment to high-quality, accessible, affordable, high-tech, and high-touch health care.

Leaders from Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan and Family Health Centers of San Diego recently celebrated the grand opening of the new Center, which bridges a critical gap in access to urgent medical and cardiac care services for San Diego’s traditionally underserved rural East County area.  

This is the only cardiac urgent care center in California with care capabilities for patients presenting with mild to moderate chest pain, according to Dr. Mehran Moussavian, FHCSD’s cardiologist and CEO of the Cardiovascular Institute of San Diego.

Kristen Cerf, CEO of Blue Shield Promise, was among the participants at the grand-opening celebration and spoke about the Center’s importance in addressing community health and improving access to care.

“We hope that anyone – regardless of income, health plan affiliation, or where they live – will walk through these doors and receive access to urgent and life-saving care,” she said. “When we support healthy communities, we create healthier outcomes for every individual. The services at this center are an expression of heart-felt care for these diverse East County communities and people in critical need of urgent care interventions.”

As part of a small, national pilot program that diverts patients who call 911 and don’t need to be seen at a hospital, the new Urgent and Cardiac Care Center eases the strain on local Emergency Departments by reducing avoidable visits and saves lives by reducing travel time for residents in crisis and when time is of the essence. It brings important new medical services to the FHCSD, which has provided primary and pediatric care, women’s services, radiology, vision, dental, mental health, and cardiac specialty care since 2017.

Sharing in the grand opening event were Jeff Gering, senior vice president of support services, Family Health Centers of San Diego; Dr. Mehran Moussavian, CEO, Cardiovascular Institute of San Diego; and Marguerite Paradis BSN, RN, MHA, Assistant CNO & Neurosciences Director, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, which contributed $100,000 to the center.