DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – Representative from the University of California Riverside School of Medicine Primary Care Medical Center (UCR SoM) met with civic leaders last month to move forward a plan that will provide a teaching platform for two key residency programs including family medicine and OB-GYN in the county’s unoccupied building on Palm Drive.
The UCR SoM will occupy 19,802 sq. ft. of the 24,848 sq. ft. building; the remaining 5,048 sq. ft. will be operated by the County of Riverside Community Health Agency (CHA) to provide the Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The UCR SoM and the WIC are estimated to jointly employ 150 skilled and professional positions, according to DHS City Manager Rick Daniels.
“The Borrego Community Health Foundation will proceed to build on the already city-approved site known as the ‘Former Jewish Temple’ on East Pierson Boulevard. Borrego is working with the city, the RDA successor agency, and the oversight board to expedite the sale of the property and the construction of the clinic.
“The 10,000 sq. ft. clinic should open by summer 2013. Borrego will target 17,000 residents living at or below the 200 percent Federal Poverty Limit and will provide children and adult healthcare services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. A total of 15 exam rooms will be staffed by seven healthcare providers to provide healthcare services to approximately 10,000 patients annually.
“Additionally, the new Community Health and Wellness Center includes four dental exam rooms and two medical exam rooms for the Youth Medical/Dental Clinic as part of the Health Center, Boys and Girls Club, and the John Furbee Aquatics Center. Borrego Community Health Foundation will operate this facility in collaboration with the UCR SoM.
UCR SoM will construct and staff 12 exam rooms with six healthcare providers providing services to approximately 12,000 patients annually. A robust residency training platform will include up to 50 medical school residents rotating annually.
“The WIC program will serve 2,500 individuals each month, and provide checks for buying healthy supplemental foods from WIC authorized vendors, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and assistance in finding health care and other community services. Eligible participants will include pregnant women, breastfeeding or new mothers, and infants and children. Participants who complete the initial requirements will be issued WIC checks that can be redeemed at Mother’s Nutritional Center, which is located at most grocery stores or next door to the WIC office. This facility will be one of 17 WIC sites that serves 80,000 participants each month in Riverside county.
“The Educational Development Agency (EDA) is also proposing they jointly develop with the College of the Desert a 10,000 sq. ft. campus on the 14 acre site occupied by the Family Care Center Building. COD would provide general education classes, allied healthcare education and certification. The COD building would be built either adjacent to or across from the UCR SoM complex to facilitate collaboration between agencies,” Daniels said.
The total cost to complete the construction of the UCR SoM space is estimated to be $1.5 million from the Healthcare District. EDA constructed $9.1 million building shell and external improvements estimated at $700,000. If this funding is secured promptly, construction is expected to resume Jan. 1, 2013 with the clinic fully operational by April 2013, he said.
“Of greater concern is that the county has repeatedly declined to pay the city’s Development Impact Fees estimated to be $239,044. Only after withholding an easement did they agree to pay $127,000 to reconstruct and widen Park Lane which was a condition of development by the earlier owner,” Daniels said.
“The new president of COD met with the city council his first day in office and outlined plans to build a “Learning Center” south of the Community Health and Wellness Center, immediately west of the city hall. Since that time Rudy Acosta and I have been developing plans for a joint project where the city would construct a new library in conjunction with the COD Learning Center.
“For five years the COD has been looking for sites for their center and throughout that time they have insisted on being immediately adjacent to the high school,” he said.
The 14 acre parcel of county land extends south of the existing unoccupied building to Park Lane and east to the Desert Springs Middle School athletic fields. In 2010/11 the city applied for a state recreation grant with Supervisor Marion Ashley’s permission to expand the Mission Springs Soccer Park across Park Lane to occupy a large part of the unused portion of the parcel.
“One of the areas that EDA is proposing to construct the COD facility is on the corner of Park Land and Palm. That is a prime commercial site and placing a COD facility there is underutilizing its revenue potential for the city,” Daniels said.
“I am meeting with EDA and will raise these issues with them. I am asking the City Attorney to renew our demand for DIF’s. Alternatively, I will also seek the non-cash equivalent such as the Park Lane signalization or the back portion of this land for the soccer park expansion. I will also seek landscaping upgrade.
“By this time next year the city should have gone from a city with only two to three doctors to over a dozen at these three facilities. That takes the city out of the ‘medically underserved’ category. We are on our way to truly being a Health and Wellness Community. Additionally, there are at least two other proposals for private practices that have been proposed.