Section: News

Donated Surgery Helps Uninsured Napa Man Live Without Pain


Surgery to Remove Kidney Stones Provided at No Cost through Operation Access & St. Joseph Health Partnership

NAPA, Calif., April 17, 2019 – St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center (QVMC), St. Joseph Health Medical Group and a dozen physician volunteers donated their time and talent to ensure 24 uninsured, low-income Napa residents could receive vital surgeries and access specialty care at QVMC in 2018. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the partnership. Since 2014, St. Joseph Health 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.

Guillermo is one of the 24 residents who received treatment at Queen of the Valley through Operation Access last year. He fled violence in Mexico in 2003 and moved to Napa County where he works as a day laborer. On his way to work last summer, he suddenly doubled over with excruciating abdominal pain: "I thought I was going to die," he said.

After the “most painful walk of my life," he arrived at QVMC and was examined by Daniel Gilbert, DO, a urologist with St. Joseph Health Medical Group who started participating with Operation Access shortly after moving to Napa from Arizona in June 2018. Dr. Gilbert diagnosed him with a large kidney stone that was two centimeters in diameter (the size of a marble). After learning Guillermo had no health insurance, Dr. Gilbert referred him to Operation Access.

Guillermo now receives care at OLE Health and is grateful for all the organizations and providers who cared for him: "The support Dr. Gilbert gave me is just amazing. I am so surprised everyone wanted to help me."

By connecting care providers willing to donate their medical expertise with hospitals and clinics willing to donate facilities and technologies, Operation Access has coordinated nearly 500 surgical procedures and diagnostic services for vulnerable Napa County residents since 2014. In addition to donating its facilities, Queen of the Valley also supported Operation Access through a $25,000 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 the Napa Valley.”

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


About Queen of the Valley Medical Center

Queen of the Valley Medical Center is a 208-bed, acute-care facility founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. The Queen is the largest health care facility and one of the largest employers in Napa County. The hospital’s scope of services includes: cancer; cardiac; emergency/trauma; imaging; maternity and infant care; neurosciences; orthopaedics and a wellness center, among many other specialty services. More information about Queen of the Valley Medical Center can be found at

About St. Joseph Health Medical Group

St. Joseph Health Medical Group (SJHMG) is committed to improving local access to care in Sonoma, Napa, Humboldt, and surrounding communities. Our team of like-minded providers offers high quality, patient-centered care as well as a more satisfying experience for patients and families with a focus on maintaining continuity of care throughout the group. With over 340 providers and growing, SJHMG’s tradition of excellence extends to all aspects of care—from routine check-ups to leading-edge surgical procedures. SJHMG operates more than 75 offices and clinics throughout the northern California region. For more information, visit

About Operation Access
Operation Access, founded in 1993, grew out of the recognition that many San Francisco residents did not have access to elective surgical or specialty care because they had no insurance and limited financial means. From its beginning in San Francisco with a handful of volunteers working in a single hospital, Operation Access has grown to serve all nine Bay Area counties. Over the years, our partnership with health care providers has grown to include more than 1,500 volunteer medical professionals, 75 hospitals and ambulatory care centers, and 100 medical groups that provide outpatient surgical procedures and diagnostic screenings to patients referred from more than 90 community clinics.

In Napa, in addition to St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley and St. Joseph Health Medical Group, Operation Access also partners with Adventist Health St. Helena and Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano as well as Pacific Pathology Associates of Napa; Radiology Medical Group of Napa; and Anesthesia and Analgesia Medical Group Inc. For details, visit

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