Valley Homeless Healthcare Program (VHHP) is an internationally recognized program whose mission is to be “the safety net for the safety net.” We are a small group of providers who have a strong calling to work with an underserved patient population. We serve the homeless community in Santa Clara County. Our group is characterized by:
- High morale. We all LOVE what we do. Every member of our clinical team, from the front desk to the physicians, all genuinely want to be here and do all that we can to deliver the best care to our patients. People imagine that our work with the homeless must be draining. On the contrary, we think that we have the most satisfying and gratifying work, and we feel constantly re-energized.
- Teamwork. We feel that many groups give lip service to this word, but this word truly defines us. As physicians, we are highly supported in our work by an incredible team that includes the strong daily presence of Nursing, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Social Work. As physicians, when we have difficulty making decisions about what to do with a particular patient, we will more often than not make a “group decision” about what to do with a patient. We realize that we provide better care when we make decisions together as a team.
- Innovation. Our group is characterized by not being able to be characterized. If you see a need or want to do something, you get to run with it. This is not a doc-in-the-box job. We get to be creative with what we do. One example is what we did when we noticed we had a large number of opiate dependent patients. These patients can be very challenging, and we found they were having difficulty accessing recovery resources. We all became certified to prescribe buprenorphine and now have weekly buprenorphine group medical visits run by physicians, psychologists, and a social worker, which has led to tremendous provider and patient satisfaction. We also noted a high percentage of transgender people in our population. We now have a gender clinic once weekly, have conducted trans friendly all-staff education, and are expanding services to the greater hospital system.
- Public Policy and Community Work. As a homeless healthcare program and as part of our job descriptions, we collaborate with local agencies, elected officials, and community groups to advocate for the homeless community. We make real change in our community.
- Clinician-Educator Providers are Affiliated Clinical Educators with the Stanford University School of Medicine and faculty of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Residency Program. Our team chairs the Social Medicine and Global Health Pathways in the SCVMC residency.
- No Weekends, Great Benefits, Minimal Call Our clinics are open on weekdays only. Providers have 7 weeks of paid vacation, a pension benefit through CAL-PERS. Primary care call is maximum 2 week/year of beeper home call only.
Organization / Background
VHHP is part of the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System, a county agency comprised of the Valley Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics; Ambulatory Care and Community Health Services; Public Health Department; Mental Health Department; Department of Alcohol and Drug Services, Community Outreach Services; and Valley Health Plan. VHHP has been in existence for thirteen years with a staff of approximately 55 people. Provider staff includes 6 internists, 1 family practitioner, 3 family nurse practitioners, 1 psychiatrist, and 5 psychologists. The staff also includes social workers, nurses, and community outreach workers. Integral to its function, the program has several key partners including a case management team, psychology internship program, methadone clinic, and shelter organization.
Core Purpose of VHHP:
To promote human dignity, to relieve suffering and to provide hope so that people can achieve their full potential and improve their quality of life.
The VHHP physician will be one of ten providers delivering primary care to homeless patients.
As part of the larger Valley Homeless Healthcare Program, the physician’s responsibilities may include involvement in some of these projects:
- Primary Care– Will provide primary care to patients in a variety of settings including a general medical clinic, a shelter clinic, a medical respite program, and mobile medical unit sites. Our clinics are diverse and include a teen drop-in center, migrant farmworker outreach site, soup kitchen, and winter shelter, in addition to our fixed sites in San Jose.
- Teaching – Physicians will be expected to teach medical students, residents, and psychology students in various outpatient settings. Specific teaching scenarios include instructing internal medicine residents in clinic as part of a social medicine rotation, noon conference didactics for internal medicine residents and guiding rotating nursing and psychology students.
VHHP care is based on a set of core values. We are looking for candidates with similar values. These values are as follows:
- Team Care – Caring for complicated patients requires a team. All patients receive care from the entire team including our case managers, nurses, psychologists, and outreach workers. The ability to work within and through this team will be critical for success.
- Flexibility – Many of our sites are in non-traditional settings including shelter-based clinics, mobile medical units, and street medicine. Adapting practice styles to these non-traditional settings will be important.
- Patient advocacy – The care provider is an advocate for the patient. Many of these patients have ‘failed’ other mainstream care settings. Advocating and developing creative solutions for their care will be an important aspect of the job.
- Partnerships – Interacting with external agencies including shelter staff, case workers, addiction counselors and developing partnerships around the care of mutual patients will be another important aspect of the job.
- Board certified or Board Eligible in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine
For further information, please contact:
Mudit Gilotra, MD
Valley Homeless Healthcare Program
Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System