About 100 Patterson residents, health care workers and city officials gathered Thursday, March 17, to celebrate the start of construction on the Golden Valley Health Center building expansion.
With more room, the staff will be able to see 125 more patients each day at the overcrowded health clinic, which welcomes all and mostly serves low-income and uninsured individuals and families.
“We are currently limited to seeing about 90 medical patients each day, and too often patients with pressing health needs end up needing to go to local emergency rooms,” said Hazel Yangat, the clinic’s back office supervisor.
Similie Construction of Modesto will build the addition, which should be ready for patients in early 2012. The 6,000-square-foot space along Highway 33 will be funded by a $1.7 million grant from the federal government.
Mike Sullivan, CEO of Golden Valley Health Centers, thanked the gathering and gave some history on the local health center. Golden Valley began in Patterson 34 years ago with a federal grant through the county medical society, intending to help farm workers. It remained at 44 N. Third St., (now Greg Nunes Realty) for 11 years before moving to Highway 33 and C Street almost 20 years ago. Now, with its new wing, the center is ready for a new chapter in its history.
“This is going to be a good thing,” Sullivan told the gathering. “Health centers throughout the country, not just Patterson, are getting ready to see more patients for 2014. We’re preparing ourselves for the future is what it’s all about.”
Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini told the crowd Golden Valley and its staff hope to deliver better health care.
“Good quality health care is something we always strive for on the West Side,” DeMartini said. “They’ve been great partners with the West Side Health Care Advisory Task Force, working on ways to make us aware of healthy choices and healthy lifestyles.”
Marc Smith, site administrator for Golden Valley Health Centers, said that in 2010, the local health center saw 5,767 patients during 21,986 medical, dental and behavioral visits. Thirty percent of those people were uninsured, 61 percent were covered by Medi-Cal, 5 percent had Medicare and another 5 percent had private insurance. Doctors at the clinic specialize in family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general dentistry and behavioral health.
Golden Valley’s revenues come from patients and charitable sources, as well as federal and state grants. No patient is turned away because of inability to pay.
The expansion will increase the number of medical exam rooms from nine to 15, double the number of dental exam rooms to six, and add three health promotions offices for a total of five. Health promotions offices are for health educators and patient care representatives to meet with patients.
The extra space for dentistry is much needed, Michelle Bousliman, dental supervisor in a prepared statement, as the center turns away about 10 patients a day and another provider and three more chairs would improve dental services to patients. .
The expansion, using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will give Golden Valley space for an extra 12,000 patient visits each year.
To serve those new patients, the health center will hire as many as 15 permanent staff members. Building the new wing will also create more than 70 construction jobs.
Golden Valley Health Centers is a private nonprofit health care system that has served the Central Valley for more than 38 years. It has 21 clinics, eight dental sites, two women’s health centers, three school-based centers and two mobile clinics, all in Merced and Stanislaus counties.
• Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.