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‘Growing needs of the community’: Chapa-De Indian Health breaks ground on new building

Vehicle traffic along Sierra College drive passes by the construction zone of Chapa-De Indian Health.
Photo: Elias Funez

Chapa-De is growing.

Chapa-De Indian Health’s current expansion project is a response to increased demand for health care services and the increased staffing needed to support it, according to spokesperson Miranda Raulinaitis.

Chapa-De broke ground on a new administrative building this week, Raulinaitis wrote in an email Wednesday.

The building is being constructed behind Chapa-De’s existing Grass Valley health center, at 1350 East Main St.

Earth moving equipment has been hard at work making way for the expansion of Chapa-De Indian Health Clinic along Sierra College Drive.
Photo: Elias Funez

Morgan Tempus, a project manager with RCP Construction, said dirt work at the site began last month.

Tempus estimated that the project would be completed in summer 2022.

A stand of trees that once grew here have since been cleared and removed to make way for the expanded offices of Chapa-De Indian Health.

On the planned use of the upcoming 10,000-square-foot administrative building, Raulinaitis said it will include 14 offices; a workspace for the Chapa-De’s call center; spaces for meeting, training, and conferences; and “much needed additional parking.”

Relocating staff to the new building, said Raulinaitis, will allow Chapa-De to expand access to medical and dental care within the existing health center.

“Chapa-De’s renovations and expansion plans will allow the health center to meet the growing needs of the community,” said Raulinaitis.

She noted that an expansion of the Grass Valley health center itself was also recently completed.

A Chapa-De newsletter had announced in May that this expansion was estimated to finish early that month.

“Since construction began, we opened new medical and dental pods and renovated the existing medical and dental pods,“ the newsletter states. ”The final work is creating a new diabetes area and new office space for some of our clinical staff.“

In addition, according to Raulinaitis, the completed expansion included a phlebotomist lab, new telehealth exam room, and larger dental and medical reception areas.

The health center’s expansion is also adding space for Chapa-De to partner with two Dignity Health hospitals — Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Methodist Hospital of Sacramento — on a rural family practice medical residency program.

The goal of their collaboration with the two hospitals is to develop a training program for family practice medical residents interested in rural health, said Raulinaitis.

In a news update last week, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation Executive Director Kimberly Parker said the foundation’s securing of a $750,000 Health Resources and Services Administration grant for this program two years ago was meant to address the local challenge in accessing family practice physicians.

According to Parker, a virtual site visit for national accreditation was conducted in June, for which notification of accreditation is anticipated in October, and the program will then move forward with identifying two medical residents to start July 2022.

“Working in a medical residency teaching facility and community is very appealing to some physicians who want to be faculty as well as continue their medical practice,” wrote Parker. “Physicians that learn there is a vibrant residency program here may consider Nevada County as an option for their practice.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

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