Newest Santa Rosa health center, Vista, opensOther clinic stories in this reportNapa’s Clinic Ole set to open new clinics next year

Sebastopol center expands to meet growing demands

New Petaluma facility to serve 30,000 residents

Marin health centers respond to wave of patients

SANTA ROSA -- The Vista Family Health Center, the newest member of the Santa Rosa Community Health Centers family of health centers, opened on Nov. 8 and started seeing patients two days later.

Located at 3569 Round Barn Circle in the Fountaingrove Executive Center, this 42,500-square-foot, two-story facility is home to 150 staff members and 56 examination rooms.

Three years of planning came to completion within 16 months for the $17.7 million building retrofit project.

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“The Vista center adds capacity for 10,000 to 15,000 new patients and more coordinated patient care,” said Naomi Fuchs, CEO of Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, formerly known as Southwest.

The Santa Rosa Community Health Centers team expects to see 40,000 patients annually as part of a total of 130,000 annual visits for all eight network sites in fiscal year 2011.

The Vista health center provides a variety of primary care and family practice services for Medi-Cal and Medicare patients as well as for uninsured and underinsured people in Santa Rosa.

Program offerings include primary care,  family planning, obstetrics, health education, HIV treatment, mental health services, eye exams, diabetes programs, medications, breast and cervical cancer screening and insurance application assistance.

“Access to primary care is a big issue in our community. Sometimes new patients have had to wait up to three months before their first visit. We now have more providers, case managers and staff, and our entire network of offices is utilizing the same electronic medical records system. This enables us to offer a more coordinated and improved quality of care as well as an enhanced patient experience,” Ms. Fuchs said.

Vista is also affiliated with the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency program, which also moved to the Vista Family Health Center.

Other Santa Rosa Community Health Centers include the Lombardi Court Health Center, Santa Rosa Homeless Clinic, Elsie Allen Health Center, Roseland Children’s Health Center, Southwest Adult Day Services and the Turning Point Satellite Clinic.

Napa’s Clinic Ole set to open new clinics next year

NAPA COUNTY -- Community Health Clinic Ole is putting finishing touches on a trio of new clinics that will open in 2011 between January and March.

The first, located at 1100 Trancas St., next to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, will occupy 3,900 square feet of newly remodeled space and is designed to serve as an Ob/Gyn clinic. It is scheduled to open in January.

The second clinic, set to open for business on Feb. 20, is a manufactured structure made off site and delivered in two sections.  It will comprise a new wing that will be added to an existing building at the Napa Clinic Ole location at 1141 Pear Tree Lane.

This addition will house six more examination rooms and accommodate up to 4,500 visits annually. It is funded in part with $900,000 in federal funds derived from the recent health care reform bill.

Another Ole facility will open next March on the campus of County Health and Human Services in Building B, located on Old Sonoma Road in Napa.

The project involves remodeling approximately 2,000 square feet of space once used as the county’s infirmary in the 1920s and 30s.

This location will specialize in offering primary health care to individuals receiving mental health services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation counseling from co-located county programs. “We are grateful to receive funding to build these new facilities, however, the shortage of family practice physicians is a major concern for us,” said Beatrice Bostick, executive director of Clinic Ole Community Health.

“With so many doctors retiring, there are fewer MDs in family practice. We believe government should also allocate funds to help put more students through medical school so that the pool of family practice physicians can be increased.”

Community Health Clinic Ole operates facilities in Napa, St. Helena, Calistoga and at Napa Valley College including the Sister Ann Dental Clinic. It also provides the Healthy Moms and Babes and Your Alternatives to Risk health and wellness programs. Collectively, these sites accommodate 28,000 visits a year.

In October, Clinic Ole also received $1,350,000 in funding from Auction Napa Valley, an event sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners, a group that has helped fund Community Health Clinic Ole since 1984.

Sebastopol center expands to meet growing demands

SEBASTOPOL -- Starting with a relatively small suite with only 2,500 square feet of space at 6800 Palm Ave. in a local medical office complex, the Sebastopol Community Health Center has quadrupled in size as demand for its services has grown.

The Sebastopol center is part of the West County Health Center network of seven offices caring for communities such as: Guerneville's Russian River Health Center, Russian River Mental Health Services, Russian River Dental Clinic and administrative offices; Occidental's Area Health Center; Forestville's Teen Clinic at CASA; and Graton's office at the Labor Center. Another location in Forestville will be added soon.

In March, Sebastopol added a second suite comprising 4,000 square feet followed by a third in June with 1,500 square feet. Plans now call for adding a fourth suite in 2011, which would give it another 3,000 square feet of space for mental health counseling and other specialty services.

“We continue to strive to meet the expanding need for primary care services as we experience much stronger demand than anticipated,” said Mary Szecsey, executive director of West County Health Centers. “Our work load keeps rising because few doctors take Medi-Cal patients or serve low-income, uninsured patients.”

In Sebastopol alone, the need for counseling meant hiring a second mental health therapist along with one part-time general surgery and two orthopedic specialists. Ob/Gyn services are also expanding and another physician will be coming on board in February.

Staff numbers will rise from 70 to 75 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in 2010 to 95 FTEs in 2011.

“Everyone here is excited about health care reform, its new funding, a focus on prevention and developing new models of proactive care.  Our transition to electronic patient records is fully implemented for lab results and prescriptions, and now we are including access to other hospitals and providers.

“We have designed our practices to operate as care teams with a primary emphasis on keeping people healthy as well as treating disease and other chronic conditions,” Ms. Szecsey said.

New Petaluma facility to serve 30,000 residents

PETALUMA -- The new Petaluma Health Center located at 1179 North McDowell Blvd. is scheduled to open in May with facilities to serve about 30,000 patients.

A contract was recently signed with Midstate Construction Co. for the build out of Phase I of the existing vacant building involving 42,000 square feet of the total 53,000-square-foot existing site with an April 29 target date.

Phase II will involve the repurposing of the remaining 11,000-square-foot area plus additional parking space.  Another $2 million will be needed for the second phase.

“We plan to apply for an Expanded Services federal grant for $291,000 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in April that will enable us to add 25 more staff members,” said Kathie Powell, CEO of the Petaluma Health Center. “When at full capacity, we expect to have a total of 175 staffers.”

The existing Petaluma center at 1301 Southpoint Blvd., Building A, now serves from 15,000 to 16,000 patients, with another 20,000 to 22,000 expected to be added at the new location by 2017.

In June the center received a $5.87 million loan from Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group for the purchase of the building and $8.9 million in Federal stimulus ARRA money for the build out.  Petaluma Health Center was one of 85 federally qualified health centers to receive ARRA funds, according to officials.  The total project is expected to cost about $15.5 million.

The new location will be a level 3 OSPHPD certified health center.

Marin health centers respond to wave of patients

MARIN COUNTY -- Responding to a tidal wave of unserved county residents who need medical and dental services in the wake of the down economy over the past two and a half years, Marin Community Health Centers has expanded its ability to serve patients by opening three new facilities in the past two years.

A full-service, six-chair dental office -- capable of handling 11,000 patient encounters a year -- opened Oct. 18 at 6090 Redwood Blvd. in Novato.

This 1,500-square-foot site was built adjacent to an existing 10,000-square-foot medical clinic and administrative center built in April of 2009.

These two projects followed the completion of a 13,000-square-foot medical clinic, which includes a dental office with six chairs, 18 examination rooms and mental health consult rooms that opened in San Rafael in July of 2008.

“Our existing sites in Novato, San Rafael and Greenbrae had reached capacity, and our schedules were stretched to the max due to the number of people who have lost jobs and have no insurance,” said Art Feagles, chief financial officer and chief information officer for Marin Community Health Centers.

“We hope to be able to access funds from federal health care reform legislation earmarked for the expansion of community clinics across the nation, but we don’t know when we would receive such funding or how much.”

A fourth Marin County clinic, which would be built by the Marin Healthcare District, is still in conceptual planning stages. No start date or site has been announced for this project.

A few weeks ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced changes in the state’s medical eligibility rules.

A major remodeling of the Marin General Hospital campus is also under way. If California medical eligibility rules are expanded, about 7,000 to 8,000 new patients may be served by this facility.

“We provide access to Family-Pact family planning services and to other safety-net programs such as Healthy Families, Cal Kids and Medi-Cal. We also see patients who do not qualify for these plans and who have no insurance. Services are available to those in need for a nominal fee. For the long term, we need a mix of payers and non-payers to help finance our services and to augment Medi-Cal, Medicare and company medical plans to remain viable,” Mr. Feagles said.