Creating Healthy Communities: Making Healthcare Services Accessible in San Francisco

On March 22, 2012, CPA released “Creating Healthy Communities: Making Healthcare Services Accessible in San Francisco,” a report which reveals the need for increased healthcare services in San Francisco’s low-income neighborhoods.

The report is based on a survey conducted by CPA’s youth organizing program in 2011. Youth leaders conducted over 800 surveys in English, Chinese, and Spanish in San Francisco, particularly in the Excelsior and Chinatown neighborhoods.

Key findings

  • Respondents in Excelsior and Chinatown were 4 times more likely to be uninsured, compared to the average San Franciscan
  • More than half of Excelsior respondents, and almost ¾ of Chinatown respondents,  depend on government/publicly funded insurance
  • Proximity to home, insurance coverage, and language and culture all play important roles in how residents choose their particular healthcare provider.
  • Many residents in Excelsior and Chinatown rely on public transportation to access their healthcare provider.
  • Roughly 1 in every 4 Excelsior residents and 1 in every 7 Chinatown residents regularly spends 60 minutes or more traveling to see their health provider.


When deciding priorities for improving existing healthcare services and developing new services and facilities, policymakers and healthcare providers should:

  • Prioritize the needs of communities who have less providers located in their neighborhoods by incentivizing the development of health care facilities by providers that serve historically underserved and uninsured populations, including low-income, immigrant, and people of color communities
  • Prioritize the needs of those who are uninsured or rely on publicly funded insurance, such as ensuring all healthcare providers serve a minimum percentage of Medi-Cal or Healthy SF patients and meet or exceed the average state levels of charity care
  • Ensure health services are easily accessible by public transportation, including that transit stops are close to provider offices, that there is frequent service and several lines of service near the providers’ office, and efforts are made to address affordability of public transit
  • Increase the availability of interpretation services for limited English patients, particularly for common languages spoken in San Francisco (such as Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog)
  • Address cultural barriers by hiring providers and staff from the communities that they are serving and/or speak the languages of communities served, and develop appropriate outreach and service programs

Download the report for complete results: Creating Healthy Communities: Making Healthcare Services Accessible in San Francisco