NAPA -- Community Health Clinic Ole, Napa County's largest federally qualified health center, will open a new location on Old Sonoma Road that will help the clinic accommodate patient growth at its main location, as an influx of patients are expected in lieu of the federal health care overhaul.

The new satellite location, a former administrative office on the County Health and Human Services campus, will house one family physician and one nurse practitioner, who will provide primary care services to substance abuse and mental health patients, according to Tina Zoppel, project manager for the new site.

Ms. Zoppel said Clinic Ole anticipates about 400 such patients at the new site -- a conservative estimate based on how many mental health and substance abuse patients said they didn't have any primary care provider. And by having the satellite clinic on the same campus as County Health and Human Services, the patients will have access to other services provided by the county, should they need them, Ms. Zoppel said. 

"Basically the project is to integrate the primary care services on the campus of [Health and Human Services]," Ms. Zoppel said. "We have been meeting together for several months, and the target population for the clinic is a specific group."

The new site, about 1,000 square feet, cost about $98,000, according to Maria Stel, spokeswoman for Clinic Ole's eight locations throughout Napa County. 

By shifting the mental health and substance abuse patients to the satellite campus, Ms. Zoppel said Clinic Ole's main location on Pear Tree Lane in Napa will have space and personnel freed up to tend to the anticipated influx of patients expected in the next year.

"We're trying to work together [with the county] so that people can be seen by their primary care providers. Hopefully we'll open up some resources and more space for those who need more severe treatment," Ms. Zoppel said. "We're looking to ease the burden."

Clinic Ole, like federally qualified health centers throughout the nation, has seen its patient volume increase dramatically in the past few years. Two years ago, the eight-site Clinic Ole had just over 58,000 patient visits for about 20,000 patients, according to Ms. Stel. That number increased significantly last year to nearly 80,000 visits and 24,000 patients.

Clinic Ole has increased its staff and physicians by 50 percent over the past five years. It now has 24 physicians in Napa, three in St. Helena and Calistoga, and additional OB/GYN staff in Napa, Ms. Stel said.

Funding for the new site came from a mix of donations and county support, Ms. Stel said, including a significant donation from the Walton Family through Napa Valley Community Foundation. The county also forgave the rent for the first year.