Dave Quincy, MD, still gets excited when he talks about his work as medical director of the RotaCare Clinic at El Camino Hospital. “It’s curious to me how I can get there after a full day in the regular clinic, and no matter how tired I am I leave RotaCare with more energy than when I started,” he muses.
Dr. Quincy has been the volunteer medical director of RotaCare for 11 years. During the day he is a family practice physician with Camino Medical Group. His initial attraction to RotaCare was based on his strong personal philosophy of giving back to the community.
“I and many of my colleagues feel that if we’re privileged enough to have received such a great education and training, we owe it to the community to give back,” he says. He adds that the other volunteers at RotaCare have the same attitude — from physicians to pharmacists to nurse practitioners. His tradition of giving back started after he completed his residency when he worked in a small underserved community in Arizona near the Mexican border.
He has seen many changes at RotaCare, but the biggest change has been the huge increase in volume. Last year they had 6,000 patient visits. “We’re seeing a wide diversity of patients,” he adds. “Around the time of the dotcom bubble burst in 2001, we started seeing high-level professionals who had lost their jobs and, with that, their health insurance.”
The other change has been in the move from treating acute care cases to managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Because of this they have expanded their pharmacy services and have added several clinical volunteers with specialties, such as pulmonology and cardiology.
“Chronic disease management is not the standard model for other similar clinics, including RotaCare clinics,” he says. “We have had several other programs come here to learn how we are doing it.”
Aside from physicians, pharmacists and nurses, a number of other clerical and support staff—from interpreters to high-school students — keep the clinic going. In addition to the volunteers who staff the clinic, he credits the success of RotaCare Clinic to El Camino Hospital’s investments in radiology, pharmacy and other services.
But it is the volunteers who are the heart and soul of RotaCare. “Once we get volunteers, they tend to stick around,” he says. “I think it’s because of the positive energy people get here.”
But it’s also because they are careful to work with volunteers and are flexible in accommodating their schedules.
“The energy, I think, comes from the fact that everyone who works there wants to be there. We all feel like we’re a part of something really important for the community,” he says.