The new Youth and Young Adult Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center offers free services to patients 13 and older, to encourage young people to better manage their reproductive health. It was established in response to requests by numerous community-based organizations serving teens, said Daniel Martineau, a professor of general pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine whose specialty is adolescent medicine.
“The clinic offers services for everything from “It hurts when I urinate’ to ‘I need contraception,’” Martineau said.
“We want adolescents and young adults to feel comfortable seeking care so they will provide open and honest information about their sexual activity,” he said. “We view adolescence as a developmental stage when young people begin to take more responsibility for their own health. Doing so with the guidance of a professional helps make them better able to make good decisions about their life choices.”
Martineau said that the services, which are offered by the Department of Pediatrics in the General Pediatrics Clinic, are not being billed to patients’ insurance, regardless of whether they have private health coverage through their parents.
“When an adolescent sees a physician and their health insurance is billed, their parents receive an explanation of benefits letter from the insurance company about their visit,” he said. “That can be a disincentive for the teen to get into treatment.”
While some parents may be concerned that their child may be receiving health-care services without their knowledge, in California all adolescents have the right to receive confidential reproductive health-care services.
“We always discuss with them the risks and benefits of good communication with their parents about their reproductive health,” Martineau said.
The clinic offers all reproductive health-care services, including pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted infection testing, diagnosis of painful urination, which can be a symptom of sexually transmitted infection in males, and irregular periods which can be a symptom of infertility, Martineau said. The clinic is not offering free treatment for conditions unrelated to reproductive health. Individuals utilizing the service need not be established patients of UC Davis.
“Our primary goal is to make sure that young people get into treatment and get the reproductive health care that they need.”
Funding for the clinic comes from the California state Family Pact Program, which funds reproductive health services.
UC Davis Children’s Hospital is the Sacramento region’s only comprehensive hospital for children. From primary care offices to specialty and intensive care clinics, pediatric experts provide compassionate care to more than 100,000 children each year and conduct research on causes and improved treatments for conditions such as autism, asthma, obesity, cancer and birth defects. For more information, visit the UC Davis Children’s Hospital website.