May 29, 2023
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury 1999 Final Report: Willow Clinic
Background | Findings | Commendation | Recommendation

In 1997, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors established the Willow Clinic at the VA Hospital in Menlo Park. Four organizations cooperate in the operation of the Clinic: the San Mateo County Health Services Agency, the Veteran's Administration (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System, Stanford University Medical Clinic, and the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital. This is a unique partnership between two levels of government and private health care providers.

Willow Clinic was formed to serve the working poor of the community and is open during the weekdays. On Thursday evenings a drop-in primary care clinic is available. A drop-in clinic for sexually transmitted diseases is open on Wednesday evenings. Patient visits to the Willow Clinic are expected to number 19,000 in fiscal year 1998-1999.

The Willow Clinic provides non-injury, disease-related medical care. Medical services include adult and pediatric primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, AIDS/HIV services, family planning and optometry services. One-third of the patients at Willow Clinic are pediatric. Seventy percent of the patients are Hispanic. A dentistry clinic which served AIDS/HIV patients has been expanded to serve children. The clinic is staffed by four full time physicians (three for internal medicine and one for pediatrics) plus part time doctors and staff. Eighteen medical residents from Stanford University provide primary medical care while receiving training and patient care experience three afternoons each week.

The 1999 Grand Jury toured the facilities of the Willow Clinic located in the VA buildings in Menlo Park to understand county-supported medical services available to the citizens of the south county.


Management, physicians and staff are conscientious, caring and attentive. The Willow Clinic has the appearance of a premier medical office, with appealing decor and advanced business equipment. The ongoing meetings among the four partners to explore service opportunities in the south county show their dedication to the clinic's mission of reaching out to the community and providing the best possible patient care.

The clinic staff views themselves as partners in this community. The staff provides opportunities for parents to get their children's school physicals and immunizations at community health fairs.

Clinic management identified several issues which they felt are needed to provide better service for their patients:

  • an improved telephone system.
  • free evening transportation for patients.
  • additional space within the Veteran's Hospital for the growing clinic.

The San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury commends the senior management of the Willow Clinic for the welcoming environment and atmosphere of the Clinic, the helpful and caring attitude of the staff, the variety of services offered, the many community activities they initiate, and the synergy with the Veteran's Administration services and Stanford University.


Recommendation 37

The San Mateo County 1999 Grand Jury recommends that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors provide funding to Health Services Agency for Willow Clinic to upgrade their out-dated telephone system, to provide for additional space for their facilities and to arrange free evening transportation to better serve the patients.


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