Innovative new model provides low-cost services and increase access to care in community with very limited veterinary services
San Francisco, October 20, 2022 — San Francisco SPCA, elected officials, community leaders, and pet guardians are celebrating the opening of the organization’s new community veterinary clinic, an innovative low-cost model in the Excelsior District that will address access to care issues in the City’s southern neighborhoods.
Currently, there are very limited veterinary services in the Excelsior and opening a clinic helps under-resourced families access treatment and care for their dogs and cats. By shifting focus to the Excelsior District, the SF SPCA will redouble its commitment to providing veterinary care for the city’s most underserved pets.
“We believe that all animals deserve access to veterinary care,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, CEO of the SF SPCA. “By offering a fixed menu of services at a lower cost, this clinic will help prevent small issues from becoming larger ones that require more expensive treatments. The new clinic will prevent unnecessary illness and suffering, while helping keep pets out of shelters and in the loving homes of neighborhood families. We are excited to partner with the Excelsior community on this great project, and we’re so grateful for the community input that helped shape this clinic.”
The new clinic location, 4527 Mission Street, was chosen based on the organization’s experience working in the neighborhood for the past 10 years, including hosting a monthly free vaccine clinic in nearby Visitacion Valley. To ensure the clinic is truly a resource for the local community, the SF SPCA also partnered with a community-based consulting group to conduct focus groups. The clinic’s location is near several transportation hubs, allowing easy access for those who need it. The SF SPCA also examined best practices from other organizations that provide similar services in other parts of the country.
The first of its kind in San Francisco, the clinic offers a fixed menu of services that cover most veterinary needs—aside from urgent care and more involved diagnostics—allowing for more animals to be seen at a lower price point. The clinic offers services like examinations, vaccinations, treatment for skin and ear problems, and flea and tick prevention. The low-cost preventative model focuses on high-quality incremental care, with clear up-front communication about the costs and options available. No emergency services are available at this location.
“There is a desperate need for affordable veterinary care at the moment,” said Dr. Scarlett. “We believe this innovative model can address that issue while serving as a model for future veterinary clinics across the region.”
The community clinic is an expansion of the Walk-In Wellness Clinic that the SF SPCA piloted at its Mission Campus for three years. The success of that endeavor helped encourage the organization to build upon its offering and relocate it to an area that is more accessible to traditionally under-resourced communities.
The SF SPCA will continue to offer high-quality veterinary services at the organization’s Mission hospital at 201 Alabama Street. At that location, the SF SPCA both serves the public and provides medical care for the thousands of homeless animals who enter its shelter each year – many of which would not get care elsewhere.
The SF SPCA is also working to address the nationwide veterinary shortage through its advocacy work, partnerships with shelters throughout the state, and through a new training program for veterinary assistants, CoMET (Community Medicine Education Training Program). CoMET provides an opportunity for historically underrepresented individuals to learn and develop essential skills needed to succeed in the veterinary field. The first two CoMET graduates, who are from the City’s southern neighborhoods, are now working at the SF SPCA’s Community Veterinary Clinic.
About the San Francisco SPCA
The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-supported nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting, and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill, or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive government funding.
For more information, visit sfspca.org