Lyon-Martin Health Services Announces Plan to Close Clinic

Lyon-Martin Health Services Announces Plan to Close Clinic

SAN FRANCISCO– January 25th, 2011- After over 30 years of providing compassionate, respectful health care to women and transgender people, Lyon-Martin Health Services will be closing its doors. The Lyon-Martin Board of Directors announced today that it has become financially impossible to continue operating, and has made the difficult decision to initiate a plan to transfer patient care and close the clinic.  “This is truly a sad day for San Francisco. We are losing an independent community clinic that made comprehensive health services available to many people that may otherwise have nowhere else to turn,” said Lyon-Martin’s Board President, Lauren Winter.

In recent months, Lyon-Martin made painful and drastic cuts in its staffing and budget in order to keep the clinic operating. Throughout this period, the clinic continued to provide the full range of services to its patients. “Lyon-Martin’s board and management team worked tirelessly to keep the clinic operating.” said Peter Balon, the clinic’s Board Treasurer. “Unfortunately, the cuts were not enough to reduce the clinic’s sizeable financial difficulties and we simply cannot afford to keep the clinic open. We are devastated to have to make this decision.” Dawn Harbatkin, the clinic’s medical director and interim executive director, is working with the board to create a closure plan that ensures that the clinic’s patients can safely and smoothly transfer care to other appropriate providers.

Lyon-Martin needs to raise at least $250,000 to reduce immediate debts and be able to continue providing invaluable healthcare to its patients. Should that happen, Lyon-Martin may be able to reorganize rather than close.  To this end, the clinic will continue to accept donations and pledges. “We’re looking to community members to support us at this time,” said Harbatkin. “Any money raised will be used to help reduce our debt in hopes of continuing patient care.”

Lyon-Martin is holding a fundraising event this Sunday, January 30th from 7-10pm at El Rio (3158 Mission at Precita). The evening will include performances, DJs, and hundreds of dollars worth of raffle prizes.

Lyon-Martin provided care to almost 2,500 patients in 2010. 42% of these patients are queer identified, 33% of these patients are people of color, 17% are homeless or marginally housed and 84% live below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Without Lyon-Martin,

  • 7 women would have had their breast cancer advance undiagnosed.
  • 20 patients would have had their HIV viral load increase, risking advancement to AIDS and spread of HIV to others.
  • Nearly 100 patients would have had their diabetes go out of control, risking blindness, limb loss and kidney failure.
  • 150 people would have had their abnormal pap smears progress to cervical cancer.
  • More than 400 transgender patients would have had to buy black market hormones.
  • Nearly 2,500 people would not have had the necessary information to answer the question, “How are you?”

Community members interested in answering Lyon-Martin’s appeal for emergency funding can take one of the following steps:

  • Send a donation via check to 1748 Market Street, Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94102.
  • Make a donation over the phone by calling 415-901-7131

For immediate release

Contact: Lauren Winter

Board President


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