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Sept. 20 Grand Opening Set for $9 Million Health And Wellness Center

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Valley Springs, CA – The official opening is coming soon for a 10,000-square foot facility heralded as western Calaveras county’s new “one-stop” health care mecca.

This week, the Mark Twain Health Care District (MTHCD) board approved negotiating to hire Tina Terradista as general manager of the district’s $9 million Valley Springs Health and Wellness Center. A registered nurse, she formerly served as a clinic manager for Tuolumne Me-Wuk Indian Health.

MTHCD Executive Director Dr. Randy Smart reports that construction of the new center, located near the intersection of Vista Del-Lago and Highway 26 at 51 Wellness Way, is more than 70 percent complete.

Since the district will be running the new facility as an independent operator, the district board has spent the past several months reviewing and adopting official procedures. “I think we now have 219 policies for the clinic and you actually need them…federal, state, insurance, OSHA requirements….you have to have them…and they are necessary to get all our licensing and credentialing in place,” he explains.

Smart confides, “There are not many times in commercial construction where you can say something is fun — but this has been very fun. We have a great contractor, Deide Construction, Incorporated.”

Recounting the past few months, “We lost some weeks when it started raining in February and then again in May, which slowed things down a bit because of the mud and the puddling,” Smart continues. “We wanted to open in July, but now we are planning on a grand opening on the 20th of September, which is a Friday, at 10 in the morning with a program, speakers, and an open house where people can look at some modern technology and new construction. Then, we will begin seeing our first patients the following Monday morning, the 23rd, at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning.”

A Focus On Hiring Energetic, Talented Staff

As stoked as he is about the construction process, which is tracking true to its $5.5 million construction budget, Smart says he is also very excited about the health care team the district is hiring to staff the center. Four or five doctors will be among the new hires, he says.

“We don’t have final contracts yet, but handshakes, smiles, and high-fives,” he reports. “I am looking to put together a team of energetic people who are talented and want to give good care.”

Smart, who closed his own practice last year to devote more time to running the district, says he is drawing interest from physicians who are interested in making a “quality of life” change for much less stressful surroundings in a family-oriented gateway community to recreation and nature. “This isn’t about the money. Everybody’s got a mortgage and needs some financial security….I am telling them, ‘you can live in a place like this that is so unique and be part of this health care project where people will value you for years and years to come’.”

Drawing a sharp contrast, he continues, “Honestly, there are a number of health care people who commute in and out of here. You know, our emergency room docs, they don’t live here — and if you don’t live in a place you don’t have the same presence or commitment. It is more of a job than being part of a community.”

The new center’s mission, according to Smart, will be robust primary care. “We will have internal and family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, dental care, radiology, lab, and I think we may even have a pharmacy,” he lists. “The vision is that we will be delivering high-quality primary care for the community with one-stop shopping. You walk in and get everything you need…with respect, and efficiently — and you go home satisfied. That is the way I would like to start.”

Over time, he predicts, “This is going to expand, offer more, we have the capacity.”