Dr. Meredith Kieschnick saw pretty much a blank canvas when she first entered the vacant 3,900-square-foot commercial space in a west Santa Rosa shopping center.
The children's clinic she had been running for years out of a mobile trailer at the Roseland Elementary School campus was bursting at the seams. It was designed to serve 700 children, but 2,000 youngsters a year were being treated there.
Inside the new space, which was little more than a concrete floor and white walls, Kieschnick began thinking where to put the exam rooms, bathrooms and reception area and how to get more light into the irregularly shaped space.
That vision recently became Roseland Pediatrics, the newest addition to the ever-expanding Santa Rosa Community Health Centers. Located next to the new Goodwill store on Stony Point and Sebastopol roads, the clinic is the result of efforts to greatly expand pediatric care for those in Santa Rosa and beyond who cannot afford it.
"This is my dream come true," said
Kieschnick, the clinic medical director and one of its pediatricians. "We'll take anyone and everyone who needs a medical home. . . . We're ready. Bring it on."
The old clinic had four exam rooms. The new one has 10, one of which is devoted to a new dental hygienist.
There's also a break room, a utility and supply room, a room for behavioral health clients, a sizeable waiting room and reception area, a conference/education room, a vaccine refrigeration unit and more.
The clinic now has a staff of three pediatricians, three medical assistants and one nurse, an insurance certified application assistant and office support staff. None of these things would have been possible at the school site, and
Kieschnick said she expects the clinic's client base to grow to 3,000 children.
On Tuesday, Angie Sims of Santa Rosa brought her five-day-old daughter, Brooklyn, into the clinic for her first post-delivery doctor's visit. Sims had been going to the old clinic for two years, since the birth of her son.
The new clinic matches what she described as the exceptional medical care her children have been getting for two years. "I really like it. It seems open and really clean and nice," Sims said.
The children's clinic was started 16 years ago and operated for years under the Community Action Partnership, or CAP. But Kieschnick said continued government cuts in Medi-Cal reimbursements made it increasingly difficulty for CAP to operate the clinic.
Meanwhile, local private practice pediatricians and family medicine physicians all but stopped accepting Medi-Cal insurance, Kieschnick said.
In 2008, the clinic joined Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, a federally qualified health center that receives enhanced Medi-Cal payments that have allowed the organization, now with eight health care sites, to thrive.
"When we were with CAP, we would only get $18 a visit from Medi-Cal," said Kieschnick. "We had to raise $200,000 a year just to stay open."
Construction of the clinic was made possible by a $500,000 grant through President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Significant contributions were also made by the Santa Rosa East and Santa Rosa West Rotary clubs, First Five and Kaiser Permanente.
The clinic, which opened to patients Oct. 1, will hold an official grand opening from 5:30 to 7 p.m Nov. 7. The address is 711 Stony Point Road, Suite 17.