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Nearly every major health care provider in the region has recently opened a new clinic or outpatient center, and numerous others have said plans are under way for similar expansions, reflecting a concerted effort by providers to move outside of the hospital setting.

Since the start of 2013, at least half a dozen new clinics have been announced by St. Joseph Health, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation and Marin General Hospital. More are likely to come this year. 

The latest opening is Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation's new Breast Center in the new $10 million North Bay Health Plaza at 3883 Airway Dr. in northern Santa Rosa, which itself opened up in late January. The new center, opened in late February, includes state-of-the-art technology not available elsewhere in Sonoma County, according to Sutter. Much of the services were formally provided at Sutter's Women's Health Resource Center on Steele Lane

The Breast Center is able to care for a wide range of patients, from women seeking routine mammograms to those seeking diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, according to Sutter, which will provide high-tech imaging with what it says is the only currently available stereotactic system in California. It can be utilized for both standard mammography and prone stereotactic biopsies with a high-resolution, full-field detector.

"With this advanced technology and an expert staff, we can provide highly accurate breast imaging services quickly, in a comfortable environment for women," said Dr. Arnold Honick, director of the Breast Center.

Other services that will be provided include:Screening and diagnostic digital mammography, ultrasound for various body parts including breast, abdomen, pelvis, obstetric, vascular tissue, hernia and musculoskeletal evaluation.Biopsy guided by ultrasound of the breast, thyroid and lymph nodes as well as stereotactic breast biopsy and MRI guided breast biopsy.Bone density-testing evaluation (DEXA).Nurse navigation services for breast cancer patients.***

Marin General Hospital recently opened the Baden Diabetes Center, an outpatient program that provides self-management skills, treatment and on-going guidance for patients with diabetes.

The new clinic, at 1100  South Eliseo Dr. in Greenbrae, is named for Bruce Baden, a Marin resident who provided initial funding for the center and who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 38.

At the core of the new center's mission is teaching self-management for diabetic patients and their families, including dietary and nutritional therapy and self-monitoring technologies. Classes and clinics focus on lifestyle and preventive measures, peer support,intensive management strategies, insulin therapy and the use of glucometers and insulin pumps.

The new diabetes center comes in addition to other efforts by Marin General to treat the condition, including the acquisition of the Ross Valley Pharmacy Diabetes Self Management Program, an American Diabetes Association--certified course designed to teach patients about appropriate exercise, nutrition and calorie management. 

"We can extend our services and expertise beyond hospital walls and make a significant improvement in the health of the community we serve," said Dr. Joel Sklar, chief medical officer at Marin General.

Dr. Linda Gaudiani, director of the new center, said the new clinic will provide patients better options upon leaving a hospital setting by linking primary care with treatment of diabetes.

"Upon returning home, between medication changes and new diagnoses, effective treatment strategies can become destabilized, resulting in complications and even re-admissions," she said. "Through the educational resources at the Braden Diabetes Center and collaboration with primary care physicians – which is especially important – we can significantly reduce complications and re-admissions, relieve some of the burden on our primary care physicians, and markedly improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.”

Just in Marin County, some 7,500 of the county's approximately 200,000 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. Mindy Schwartz, M.S.N., is the clinical program manager.***

NorthBay Healthcare is in the process of developing a new medical office building in Fairfield adjacent to its administrative center at 4500 Business Center Dr.

Plans have been submitted to the city for a two-story, 30,000 square-foot facility that would house mostly primary care physicians, some specialists and hospice and bereavement and home health services, according to Steve Huddelston, a spokesman for Fairfield-based NorthBay Healthcare.

The new facility, which will be one of four Centers for Primary Care that NorthBay operates, relocates physicians and services in other leased buildings  in Fairfield to one location. It will include 150 parking spaces.

The health system does not need state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) approval, Mr. Huddleston said. Groundbreaking on the project is expected this spring. If all goes as planned, the new facility could be open by early next year.

The developer is Denver-based Nexcore and the general contractor is Vacaville-based DPR Construction.

***

St. Joseph Health recently completed the move of its Memorial Hospice program to 439 College Ave. in Santa Rosa, where it will occupy 12,000 square feet.

The new location will house 81 hospice employees along with a host of community services. Previously, Memorial Hospice occupied a cluster of three separate, smaller houses around the corner at Mendocino Avenue and Benton Street. 

Memorial Hospice treats and supports up to 170 patients per day, and weekly serves between 50 and 200 additional clients, including family members and friends of people coping with the serious illness or death of a loved one.

St. Joseph Health also operates North County Hospice and Hospice of Petaluma.

St. Joseph Health-affiliated Annadel Medical Group also recently opened a new after-hours primary care center at Mission Circle, while Memorial Hospital opened a new diagnostic cardiology clinic at 500 Doyle Park.***

Northern California Center for Well-Being will hold its third annual Workforce Wellness Symposium this month at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

The event, designed for business owners, brokers, HR and safety managers, focuses on successful programs that keep employees healthy, which has the added benefit of lowering health insurance premiums for employers.

This year's keynote speaker will be Jen Fretias of Clif Bar. Panelists will include representatives from TLCD Architecture, Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery, Clif Bar and Lemo USA.

The event is on Wednesday, March 27, from 4--6 p.m. at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, 1165 Montgomery Dr., conference rooms B,C and D. ...

Submit items for this column to staff writer Dan Verel at 707-521-4257 or dan.verel@busjrnl.com.