Western Sierra Medical Clinic
November 3, 2010
Frank J. Lang, NP, EJD
Western Sierra Medical Clinic has undergone some fundamental operational, staffing and structural changes over the past 3 years in an effort to maintain and improve the continuing availability of healthcare services in western Sierra County. It seems time to provide an overview of those changes as well as to assure the community that those changes have not compromised the quality or availability of healthcare services. The Clinic remains a 501[c]3 Not for Profit Corporation operated by a community based Board of Directors. The Board hires a CEO and has appointed Scott McFarland to that post. The Corporate Office remains in Downieville.
In January of 2010, the Western Sierra Medical Clinic merged with Miner’s Family Health Clinic in Grass Valley to expand the patient base and to insure the continuing federal funding of the Clinic under the Federally Qualified Health Center Program (FQHC). The Clinic’s FQHC Grant that was originally awarded in 2007 was renewed for only 1 year in 2010 pending the need to expand our patient base to make the operation more efficient and cost effective. The merger met that objective and the new application for a 5 year grant award will be submitted later this month. A recent Federal Review affirmed that the expanded organization had met the federal concerns and is poised to be successful in our new grant application. Without the merger the Clinic would not have qualified for continuing support and the services in Downieville would have had only limited availability; compromising emergency, urgent care and day to day Clinic Medical and Dental services to the community. In addition, the Clinic lost $200,000 in grant support from the State of California due to the State Budget Deficit that is not coming back.
The primary changes as a result of the merger include the combining of the Board of Directors for both organizations. Federal requirements state that the Board of Directors must be comprised of members of the communities in which services are offered. The Clinic now provides services in Downieville, Camptonville and Grass Valley. The Board of Directors is comprised of 13 members. The Board President is Larry Allen from Alleghany. Other current Board Members are Tim Beals, Sierra City; Regine Miller, Pike, Ingrid Larson, Downieville, Brandon Pangman, Downieville, Pete Villarreal, Downieville, Cookie Lyss, Nevada City, Anita Daniels, Grass Valley, Lupe Peterson, Cedar Ridge, Scott Browne, Grass Valley, Kathy Medeiros, Grass Valley, Cynthia Schuetz, Nevada City, and Richard Kuhwarth, Grass Valley.
Staffing of the Clinic has increased from a total of 18 employees to now 56 employees. We continue to have 15 employees and 1 RN Volunteer in Downieville and 41 in Grass Valley. Every effort will be made to maintain and increase the number of Clinic jobs as possible in western Sierra County.
Staffing in Downieville includes Frank J. Lang, NP, Lora Lee Grutkowski, NP, Scott Kellerman, MD, Frank J. Lang, Jr., MD, and Hiro Hataoka, DDS. Staffing also includes Danielle Yantis, RDA Nutritionist and Michael Askins, PhD, Psychologist. Services in Downieville continue to include 24 hour care, 7 days per week. Telephone calls are answered by a live person or you are advised to call 911 or the Downieville Fire Department Dispatcher at 289-3333 who will page the Medical Provider on call to meet you at the Clinic or answer your call directly. Regularly scheduled appointments are available Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The Clinic has increased patient visits from 7,000 visits per year to over 40,000 patient visits per year. The scope of services has expanded to include medical care, pediatrics, dental care, behavioral health, and nutrition services. The Clinic now has a Mobile Van that provides services in Camptonville on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and at the Homeless Shelter at St. Canice Hall in Nevada City on Monday evenings from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Dental Services are available in Downieville Monday through Thursday and in Grass Valley Monday through Friday.
Nutritional Services are available in Downieville on Mondays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Behavioral health services are available in Downieville on Wednesdays and in Grass Valley Monday through Friday.
The Clinic maintains its support of EMS Services in western Sierra County and continues its affiliation with the Downieville Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service.
We continue to provide Community Outreach Services including using the Western Sierra Food Bank, the Mobile Clinic at the Homeless Shelter, School Dental Screenings in Downieville, Camptonville and Nevada City. We also do Skin Screenings in Downieville, Support for the Breast Cancer Walk, and Community Health Fairs.
We want to thank the Community for their support of the Western Sierra Medical Clinic and our efforts to provide high quality healthcare services to the western Sierra Community. Please feel free to contact us at any time to get further information on any matter of policy or program at (530) 289-3298.