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Kaiser Permanente breaks ground on new medical office in southwest Santa Rosa

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Kaiser Permanente broke ground Friday on an 87,300-square-foot medical office building in southwest Santa Rosa that will expand the health care provider’s ability to serve the region’s Latino population and residents of west Sonoma County.

The three-story building on Mercury Way near Sebastopol Road will offer a range of primary and specialty care, including family medical services, dermatology, pharmacy, lab and imaging services. The facility should open in early 2018 and the construction cost will total around $50 million, Kaiser officials said.

“There’s a lot of good things happening in Roseland and southwest Santa Rosa, and this is just the next iteration of that,” said county Supervisor Efren Carrillo, whose district encompasses the site of the new Kaiser office. “To have the ability to not only better serve the residents that live in this community here, but have the opportunity to serve those in Sebastopol and the greater west county, to me, it’s exciting.”

Carrillo, who is nearing the end of his tenure representing the county’s 5th District, noted the Kaiser facility was part of a group of new developments moving forward in the area, including the new $17 million Roseland University prep campus and planned affordable housing in Roseland.

The new facility will be Kaiser’s seventh medical office building in the county. Most of those offices are part of Kaiser’s Santa Rosa Medical Center, except the medical office in Petaluma, which is part of San Rafael Medical Center.

Kaiser is Sonoma County’s largest health care provider, serving more than 210,000 people, said spokesman David Ebright.

“We’re large enough that we pretty much mirror the county’s demographics,” Ebright said.

Once the Kaiser facility opens, 60 physicians will work at the new office and another 60 social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists will work across the street, where Kaiser will rent part of an existing building.

Dr. Kirk Pappas, physician in chief of Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, estimated the southwest office could eventually serve well over 20,000 people for primary care.

Kaiser’s main campus on Bicentennial Way should see “improved flow” because of the new office, Pappas said. Dermatology and foot and ankle surgery will be relocated there, he said.

The new office will also include a technology center, which was a focus of Pappas’ remarks at the groundbreaking event. The center will teach patients how to use Kaiser smartphone apps to fill prescriptions and make appointments, among other services.

In an interview, Pappas described the center as an “Apple store for your health.”

“This is where you can teach people how to leverage technology to improve their health,” he said. “We can have our patients go online and watch a telenovela in Spanish about their prevention to ... help them prevent getting colon cancer, or take away the stigma of worrying about cancer and coming in to get women’s health care.”

The new facility will be an all-electric building and solar panels will be installed on the site, officials said. It will be a zero-net energy building, meaning it will generate about as much energy as it uses each year.

You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337 or jd.morris@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @thejdmorris.

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