Donated Kidney Stone Surgery Helps Uninsured Petaluma Man Return to Work Next Month Rebuilding Homes Destroyed in the 2017 Wildfires

April 22, 2019 Providence News Team

Surgery Provided at No Cost through Operation Access & St. Joseph Health Partnership

St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County (Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital) and St. Joseph Health Medical Group, along with nearly two dozen physician volunteers, donated their time and talent to ensure 44 uninsured, low-income Sonoma residents could receive vital surgeries and access specialty care at St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County facilities in 2018. This year marks the 18th anniversary of the partnership. Since 2001, St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County has partnered with Operation Access, a local nonprofit organization, to ensure individuals with no insurance or limited financial means can access health care services.

“Our organization has a long history of caring for all of our community members, especially those who are most vulnerable. We are proud to continue to partner with Operation Access to ensure all residents, regardless of their income or insurance status, are treated with compassion, dignity, and have access to the health services they need,” said Dana Codron, Regional Director for Community Health Investments at St. Joseph Health in Northern California.

Marco is one of the 44 Sonoma County residents who was able to receive no-cost treatment at a St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County hospital through Operation Access last year. Ten years ago, he moved from Mexico to Petaluma, where he works in construction. Last summer, while building a house, he experienced intense abdominal pain that left him unable to stand. It was a sensation he was all too familiar with--three years ago, while playing with his daughter, he had the same type of attack and was diagnosed with kidney stones.

His primary care doctor referred Marco to Operation Access, and set up an appointment with Adam Kaplan, MD, a urologist with St. Joseph Health Medical Group, who performed a percutaneous nephrolithotomy (minimally invasive kidney stone removal surgery) at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in October 2018.

Marco is appreciative for all the organizations and providers who cared for him: “I don’t have the resources to pay for a surgery like this, and I am so thankful. Dr. Kaplan is such a kind person, and it’s wonderful this is available to people like me.” Marco underwent a second surgery to remove kidney stones from his other kidney in February. As the main source of income in the family, Marco is happy he will be able to return to work next month to not only provide for his family, but help other families who lost their homes in the 2017 wildfires.

By connecting care providers willing to donate their medical expertise with area hospitals and clinics willing to donate facilities and technologies, Operation Access has coordinated more than 3,900 surgical procedures and diagnostic services for vulnerable Sonoma County residents since 2001. In addition to donating its facilities, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital also supported Operation Access through a $100,000 grant in calendar year 2018. In 2018, referrals to Operation Access increased by 22 percent, demonstrating the continued need in our community.

“We are thankful to each and every one of our partners who help us foster health care equality among people facing barriers to care,” said Daniel Rabkin, Senior Program Manager at Operation Access. “Together, we are improving community health outcomes in Sonoma County.”

Common specialty services provided through Operation Access include: anorectal; breast, dermatology, gastroenterology, general surgery, gynecology, plastic and reconstructive, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, podiatry; urology, and vascular. For a complete list of participating physicians, health care facilities and medical groups, please visit

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The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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