Primary care clinic opens at French Hospital

The French Health Center, a comprehensive primary care clinic, has opened at French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

French Health Center physicians are not obligated to send patients to French Hospital, and vice-versa, but their close affiliation is intended to make it easier for clinic patients to access hospital services, and for acute hospital patients to receive follow-up care and health education as part of a total care plan for patients.

“This is the philosophy of seamless care,” French Hospital President Alan Iftiniuk said.

Though this development is not a direct response to health care reforms, Iftiniuk said, he believes the more integrated model of health care is something society is evolving toward.

However, under state law, hospitals are generally prohibited from employing physicians or physician groups. Hospital-based physicians are not employees of hospitals but have contracts with hospitals.

The clinic at French Hospital does business as French Health Center but is owned by Marian Community Clinics Inc. However, both French Hospital and Marian Community Clinics are part of the California-based nonprofit corporation Catholic Healthcare West, which operates more than 40 hospitals and care centers in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Iftiniuk said that French Hospital is in the very early planning stages of possibly opening two or more such clinics in other cities on the Central Coast.

Health care providers at French Health Center include physician Scott Robertson, the current chief of staff for Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, who has a medical degree from University of Louisville School of Medicine; physician Armando Siqueiros, who has a medical degree from UC Irvine; and family nurse practitioner Coleen Wolfe, who has a license from the UCLA School of Nursing.

The clinic physicians are members of Physician’s Choice Medical Group.