SFGH Helps Patients Become Financially Fit

Without the financial resources to afford healthy food, basic housing or needed medications, even the most cooperative patients may not attain optimal health. That is where the Financial Fitness Clinic steps in.

Held every six weeks at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), this clinic recognizes the connection between economic and physical well-being, providing counseling and education to patients and their families who are in financial need.

“As people are more financially unstable, they are less healthy,” says Heather Bennett, MD, a UCSF resident physician in family medicine at SFGH and a co-coordinator of the clinic. “It is important for people to be able to afford the things we ask them to do for their health.”

Bennett is one of five friends who saw a need for financial counseling among low-income patients and decided to pool their medical and financial skills to launch the clinic in January 2011.

“The most meaningful aspect is the same as it is in medicine,” said Adam Schickedanz, MD, a pediatrician at SFGH and co-coordinator of the clinic. “Giving them the tools that they can use to improve their health – whether it’s their financial or their physical health -- it’s really rewarding.”