Growing health center to be built in Grass Valley |
Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

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Growing health center to be built in Grass Valley

A growing Grass Valley health-care clinic plans to build a nearly $5 million facility in the Glenbrook Basin.

"We're just very excited about it," said Scott McFarland, chief executive officer of Western Sierra Medical Clinic, which plans to build the clinic on Old Tunnel Road, just north of Brunswick Road, behind the Sutton Way Safeway store.

"This new building will help us meet the demands of the community," McFarland told The Union.

Western Sierra is a nonprofit community health center that began in 1989 in Nevada City as Miners Community Clinic, a solo practice by Dr. Dee Dawkins, based in the old Miners Hospital. Today it is the largest outpatient clinic in Nevada County with sites in Downieville, on Grass Valley's Whispering Pines Lane, and a mobile clinic where the organization provides medical, dental, maternity and behavioral health services for more than 16,800 patients in Nevada, Sierra and Yuba counties.

Between those three regions, the clinic currently serves roughly 17,000 patients and 200 new patients join the clinic every month. The largest demographic of the clinics' patients are Medi-Cal and Medicaid recipients, McFarland said.

"Every year we continue to grow," McFarland said. "We're expecting the growth rate to expand substantially over the next couple of years."

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The clinic is expected to log 46,000 visits in 2013, with 44,000 of those provided through Miners Family Health Center.

Annual visits are expected to increase to 60,000 per year by 2015 because of plans to expand its service to all insurances, looming health-care reform and capacity expansion.

Currently, the clinic is housed in space it leases from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, McFarland said.

The medical clinic purchased 5.3 acres on Dec. 28, 2012, of undeveloped property at 844 Old Tunnel Road. The clinic is working with a local architect, builder and project manager on plans for a 16,800-square-foot, one-story, fully American with Disabilities Act accessible medical facility that includes a dental clinic, pediatrics, maternity health, lab services, behavioral health services and community education center.

Only three of the site's acres are being developed initially, to allow for future expansion, McFarland said.

The $4,870,000 project is being funded through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation with a USDA loan guarantee.

The new health center is planned to reflect the most advanced thinking about the way people work toward health and healing, according to Brandy Kolmer, a clinic spokesperson.

Initial design plans are expected to go before the Grass Valley Design Review Committee in April. The project would also require subsequent planning commission approval. Kolmer said the goal is a May 2014 completion.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, e-mail or call 530-477-4236