Moving day is approaching for Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, which this week begins shuttering its old facilities at West Napa Street for new, state-of-the-art digs on Highway 12.
On Wednesday the health center will close its behavioral health and annex facilities, and the main clinic at 430 W. Napa St. will close the following day.
But inside, a moving frenzy will be taking place.
Health center staff will spend the rest of the week packing and labeling clinic equipment and supplies.
By Friday, the movers will arrive to transport everything to the new clinic across the street from Maxwell Village shopping center.
It’s an extremely tight schedule of activities, said health center CEO Cheryl Johnson. The entire move — labeling, packing, moving and unpacking — will last through the weekend. State licensing officials will visit the facility on Monday and, if all goes well with inspections, the new clinic is expected to be open to the public by Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The new clinic will be three times the size of the old one and will consolidate many of the health center’s various services, including behavioral health, dental and general medical departments.
“We’re going from a smaller facility to a larger facility, making sure than all the deliveries arrive when they need to arrive,” said health center CEO Cheryl Johnson.
The move into the new modern health care facility ushers the Sonoma Valley provider into the big leagues of local federally qualified health centers, which have been dominated by fast growing players like Santa Rosa Community Health Centers and the Petaluma Health Centers.
Such community-based providers have long served as the main safety net for low-income patients and the uninsured. They are expected to see a jump in patient load and medical bill reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act. The change is driven by the expansion of Medi-Cal, California’s low-income health coverage program.
County health directors say the business boost is increasing access to health care for residents in Sonoma Valley. The new Sonoma Valley Community Health Center will be unique in the valley as a comprehensive provider, offering both general and specialty care.
“This is hugely important in providing health services to the residents of Sonoma Valley,” said Brian Vaughn, health policy director for the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. “This will help underserved communities by meeting all of their health care needs — primary care and behavioral health care, dental care, obstetrics and family care.”
The new $12 million facility at 19270 Sonoma Highway boasts more than 18,000 square feet of space. It will feature much-needed exam rooms for specialty services and a six-chair dental clinic.
The clinic currently serves about 7,000 patients who log about 27,000 annual visits. By next year, the health center’s patient roster is expected to grow to just under 10,000 and 47,000 annual visits.
To accommodate the new patients, the health center is hiring more physicians, new dentists, dental hygienists and other staff.
“Right now, I will tell you we’re really excited about being able to provide this to the community,” Johnson said. “We’re really trying to ensure the best services possible.”
Johnson said the new facility will allow the health center to realize its goal of becoming more than just a clinic offering “traditional health services.” She said the health center hopes to provide extensive health education, food distribution and legal aid classes.