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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 52

New medical building is just the beginning for CHC

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

Fresh strawberry-basil flavored water, a silent auction, and a shiny new 28,000-square-foot building greeted hundreds of supporters who attended the Nipomo Community Medical Center dedication ceremony on March 1.


OPEN SESAME:
Community Health Centers of the Central Coast founder and Chief Executive Officer Ron Castle addressed a crowd during the dedication ceremony for Nipomo’s new all-inclusive CHC medical building.
PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

The ceremony kicked off a weekend of open house festivities at the newest addition to the family of more than 25 medical centers that make up Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC). The facility was built on the existing Nipomo CHC medical campus at 150 Tejas Place, and the new building opens its doors to patients the week of March 11.

CHC Chief Executive Officer Ron Castle said the $9 million facility wouldn’t have been possible without the Affordable Care Act and $7.5 million in stimulus funding allocated toward the project. CHC financed the rest of the project from reserves and financing.

He said the building was designed as a “super-center,” with the idea that 12,000 to 14,000 more people will need access to the Nipomo CHC because they will receive health insurance as part of health-care reform.

The center is larger and more comprehensive than other CHC centers. It offers the majority of services a patient would need under one roof, and patient processing is designed to expedite service, meaning less wait time for people. Castle said it’s a model they’d eventually like all their centers to follow.

“The network that we have now [serving] 80,000 could jump to 120,00 under the Affordable Care Act,” Castle said. “We’re really building a system one piece at a time.”

While they won’t be putting up any more new buildings at their existing Central Coast CHC sites anytime soon, the long-term goal is to remodel centers with the “super-center” idea in mind: more services under one roof and the ability to care for a higher volume of patients in a shorter amount of time.

CHC’s first medical director, Dr. James Dorr, told a crowd at the dedication ceremony that the new facility was a far cry from where CHC began in the 1970s: a house converted to a medical facility where the bedrooms were exam rooms, the closet was the pharmacy, and the kitchen housed the dentist.

He said it’s both comforting and exciting to see the evolution of CHC in this brand new building designed to accomplish so much.

“It is stunning, but it’s not just because it’s new,” Dorr said.