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Feb-08-2017 11:01printcomments

Virginia Garcia Creates a Safe Haven at their Clinics

"While Congress debates the future of health care, we will continue to provide great care to those who need it most in our community."

Virginia Garcia clinics
Virginia Garcia clinics are a "safe haven".

(HILLSBORO, Ore.) - While the Hillsboro and Forest Grove City Councils hesitate to declare themselves Sanctuary cities, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is not waiting.

Instead, on Friday, February 3rd Virginia Garcia hung signs in their clinics declaring them "Safe Havens". The signs were hung in all 10 clinics and 6 School-Based Health Centers.

While the "Safe Haven" designation carries no legal authority, it is a message to Virginia Garcia patients that they will ensure the patient, and their private information, are safe at all 16 of the Virginia Garcia sites.

It also reminds the communities they serve that they support everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or immigration status.

"Virginia Garcia is a local solution to the national problem of access to health care," said Gil Muñoz, CEO of Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.

"While Congress debates the future of health care, we will continue to provide great care to those who need it most in our community.

"Today that is one in every 15 people who live in Washington and Yamhill Counties. We want them to know that we are here for them, regardless of who they are or where they were born."

The decision to hang the signs came on the heels of the Health Center Board of Directors December approval of a resolution asking all the cities in which Virginia Garcia has clinics -- Hillsboro, Cornelius, Beaverton, McMinnville, Tigard, Tualatin, Forest Grove and Newberg -- to provide a safe community for all individuals, regardless of ethnicity or immigration status by declaring themselves Sanctuary Cities (at this time only Cornelius and Beaverton are Sanctuary Cities).

"People are afraid. This is just too important of an issue to sit back and wait for others to take the lead," said Serena Cruz, Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation Executive Director.

Oregon is one of seven Sanctuary States in the nation and has been since 1987. Washington and Yamhill counties passed Sanctuary resolutions in 2014, and the city of Cornelius declared itself a Sanctuary City in November.

Virginia Garcia will continue to ask their communities to become Sanctuary Cities as well as working with local groups and organizations that also serve the community.

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