By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Venice Family Clinic and South Bay Family Health Care Thursday announced the board of directors of the nonprofit organizations have agreed to merge.

The two community health centers will join forces later this year to create one unified organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of their patients and the community.

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The unified centers will bring an expanded set of vital programs and services to patients by leveraging the unique and complementary expertise of each entity.

For example, South Bay is one of a few sites in Los Angeles County offering CenteringPregnancy and CenteringParenting, a patient-centered approach that is proven to yield better outcomes for prenatal patients and to reduce racial disparities in preterm births.

Venice Family Clinic serves the distinct needs of people experiencing homelessness and is a local leader in street medicine, which brings health care directly to people who currently lack housing.

In total, the two organizations currently serve 45,000 patients in neighboring service areas, with some current areas of overlap. The combined organization will provide care to a contiguous service area stretching from the South Bay to the Santa Monica Mountains. Over time, the goal is to expand within that service area to provide quality health care to others whose need for health care remains unmet.

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Each organization has been in its community for more than 50 years. This decision comes after research and planning by both organizations to determine how it would affect the patients, staff, and communities of each.

“We will be stronger together, which will result in better, more comprehensive care for our patients,” says Jann Hamilton Lee, CEO of South Bay Family Health Care.”From years of collaborating, we know that our organizations are aligned in mission, values, and culture, and share a profound commitment to delivering care with compassion, dignity, and respect.”

Patients of both health centers can expect the same quality of care they currently enjoy, both during the transition and after the merger is complete, according to the organizations.

“South Bay Family Health Care and Venice Family Clinic have built strong legacies of finding innovative ways to care and advocate for our patients, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status,” said Elizabeth Benson Forer, CEO at Venice Family Clinic.

Completion of the merger is subject to standard closing conditions, including securing necessary regulatory approvals.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)