Santa Clara County Announces Plans for New Primary Health Care Clinic in Palo Alto Mountain View Area News

The Santa Clara County Health Care System plans to bring much-needed services to the Palo Alto-Mountain View area with a new Valley Health Center scheduled to open in late 2024.

The proposed 24,500-square-foot facility at 4151 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto will offer a full range of primary care services, including mental health, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and urgent care, with laboratory, pharmacy and imaging services. Site.

For the first time in our county’s 172-year history, people seeking affordable health care can get that care, when they need it, at a county facility, right here in North County. Supervisor Joe Simitian said at a press conference on Thursday.

Simitian, who has long advocated for a full-service health clinic in District 5, spoke to about 35 representatives of nonprofits and health care providers; Community leaders; And elected officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, which are part of the district, still have none of the county’s three hospitals or 10 full-service health care clinics in the north end of the county.

“Approximately 400,000 county residents have never had a hospital or clinic to call their own until today,” Simitan said. He disputed the claim that the county was too wealthy to need a county health care facility. About 90,000 residents, or nearly a quarter of the district’s population, fall below the 400% federal poverty threshold, he said.

“These families are trying to make ends meet. They’re making those decisions about paying the rent, ‘Can I put food on the table?’ Am I going to give up the health care that my family and I really need and deserve?” And so, along with our partners, many of whom are here today, we will be part of the solution for those families,” Simitian said.

Maria Marroquin, executive director of the Mountain View Day Labor Center, described the clinic’s support for domestic workers and day laborers. “Having health coverage is important,” she said. He added, “A lot of people don’t have health insurance, and this helps them. What’s good for a group of people, good for the community.”

The facility’s location on the border of Palo Alto and Mt. Dr. Angela Suarez, director of primary care at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics, said it will be easily accessible to residents and staff in the district. “The convenience of having multiple services together close to home or work means health care is available when and where it’s needed for many of our North County patients,” she said.

Ravenswood Family Health Network CEO Luisa Bouwada described long wait times for patients at the Palo Alto and East Palo Alto clinics, where an emergency eye appointment can take up to a year and a podiatry appointment can take up to four months. She echoed hopes that the new county facility will ease wait times at local clinics and also expand access to underserved communities.

Simitian spoke of capacity challenges for hospitals and clinics, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated health care needs over the past few years. He said the new county health clinic would benefit neighboring districts, reducing scheduling and staffing pressure.

When asked about the cost of the facility, Santa Clara Health and Hospital System CEO Paul Lorenz said it would probably be a $20 million tenant improvement with annual lease costs of a little more than $1 million.

Simitian added that the clinic’s status as a federally qualified health center made it affordable for the county. “This means that we have a rate of return that will pay for the services, including the cost of this facility, in the coming years,” he said. of Fiscal impact The clinic will be discussed at this Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, when the board is scheduled to approve the proposed purchase of the site.

Lorenz and Suarez described the clinic’s capacity to serve. Five primary care providers’ patient panels—groups of patients assigned to a specific physician or clinical team—are assigned 1,800 patients each. This does not include urgent care visits, which are also available at the clinic.

Simitian explained the scope of the clinic’s services, saying that they offer a variety of specialty care services two or three times a week to reach as many patients as possible. “That means we can literally double it,” he said. “If we divert the people who can attend this clinic, we can provide twice as many services.”

For as many specialties as possible, especially in mental health services, Buddha advocated this approach. “People like to stay close to the community they know,” she says.

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