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$9 Million ‘Wellness Mecca’ Open For Business

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Valley Springs, CA – Health care resources in Calaveras County are exponentially improving with the recent opening of the $9 million Valley Springs Health & Wellness Center (VSHWC).

Now in the third week of operations, the high-tech facility is independently owned and operated by the Mark Twain Health Care District (MTHCD).

District CEO Dr. Randy Smart confides the building and operations design was inspired by a Sacramento-based “clinic of the future,” dryly boasting that the new building probably contains more state-of-the-art technology than any other in the county.

VSHWC provides in-house lab services, such as blood tests and has a digital radiology suite that provides images in minutes to care providers onsite.

A three-chair dental suite with full support capacities, including digital x-rays, is slated to open Dec. 1.

A 1,500-square foot pharmacy, still under construction, is scheduled to initiate operations Jan. 1, 2020, providing prescriptions and offering some over-the-counter items.

According to Dr. Smart, an app will sooner be ready for patients, once they sign at the front counter for the first time, to be able to subsequently sign in using their mobile phone or tablet.

State-of-the-Art With A ‘Homey’ Feel

Despite the high-tech amenities, visitors are greeted by a pleasant lobby space with abundant seating, a beverage station and fine art prints by nationally acclaimed artist Kathleen Dunphy.

Dunphy, who also happens to be Smart’s spouse, donated the artwork, selecting warm reflective images of Calaveras County scenes. She says she wanted to complement the interior design colors and help make patients and staff feel more at home in all areas throughout the center.

Once past the lobby, patients will find a central hub area for nurses and assistants who support doctors and medical practitioners in the adjacent medical corridors. These “pods” are individually designated for pediatrics, primary care, internal medicine and specialty care such as behavioral and cardio health.

As they initially enter the area, patients will make a pitstop into Bluetooth connected room where the equipment, including an exam chair, reads and directly records their weight and vital signs into their medical files. The process virtually eliminates the use of clipboards. Nearby is a private conference room for private medical discussions with patients and their families.

The treatment room is equipped to handle a variety of procedures such as skin laceration care, casting, bracing, excisions, and minor surgery. There is also a state-of-the art “crash cart,” which Smart says can help staff carry out just about anything one can do in an emergency room. “Hopefully, we will never have to use it but if we do, we’re ready,” he says.

Smart points out a series of screens depicting a lighting system that notifies the doctors where the patients are and in what order they need to be seen.

A Focus On Caring, Quality Care

Smart describes the four full-time and six part-time doctors along with the two nurse practitioners and support staff as a highly capable group of caring professionals that are excited to be working together at the new center. General Manager Tina Terradista, a registered nurse who formerly served as a clinic manager for Tuolumne Me-Wuk Indian Health, readily concurs, “I could not be happier with the staff hiring to date.”

As for how many folks VSHWC might see and treat in its first year, Smart confides that for financial modeling purposes, the district estimated about 24,000 patients. “The number is kind of a stab in the dark. I think we will be busy, and I think we will see a lot — and to me it’s not really about those numbers. It’s about the quality. I want people to get good care…respect…and to feel good when they walk out.”

Smart emphatically shakes his head when asked if the new facility will compete with Mark Twain Medical Center (MTMC) for patients. “We are all here to provide health care in this county and there is no reason to compete…we are partners, want this to work and we are really committed to that.”

While motioning that for now his “lips are sealed,“ he alludes to what he is calling more exciting plans to collaborate and partner with Dignity Health-MTMC in the coming months towards bringing further improvements to local health care.

The facility is open weekdays 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., VSHWC is a federally designated rural health clinic, accepting Medi-Cal, Medicare-Medi-Cal and managed Medi-Cal along with private insurances. To view images of the new center, click into the image box slideshow. For more information online, click here.