Medical options on the North Coast are close to expanding as work to convert a downtown Cambria medical building into a set of offices for First California Physician Partners, including a highly anticipated X-ray facility, has begun.
Workers also are revamping the existing Sierra Vista Medical Center outpatient lab on the first floor of the building at2150 Main St.
During the construction, that lab will be open for its regular hours on its usual days, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The lab’s services are available to anybody with a doctor’s order for blood draws and other testing.
The X-ray facility will be for FCPP patients only, according to Kimberly Vaquera, FCPP’s Central Coast market manager.
She said the restrictions are due in part to regulations of the Office of Statewide Planning and Development.
However, she said, “We want to be as resourceful as we possibly can in assisting the community” and respond to what had been promised previously.
She said a patient with an X-ray order from another physician might go to an appointment with one of the FCPP health-care providers, who could then write an order for the patient to have the X-ray done in Cambria, rather than having to go out of town.
John Linn of Linnvestments, the building’s owner, said FCPP — affiliated with Tenet California, which also owns Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton and several other nearby facilities — has a 10-year lease and three five-year extensions written into the contract.
Linn and Vaquera expect the medical office will open Sept. 1.
Vaquera said Monday that demolition of the office’s interior walls began April 23, work evidenced by the large dumpster stationed in front of the building.
Vaquera said her goal for the primary-care facility “is to have a physician and a nurse practitioner or physicians’ assistant there five days a week, Monday through Friday.”
The plan also includes later hours on Thursdays, probably from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., she said, “but we’ll play that by ear to accommodate the community. If people would like to make appointments for after work, or earlier, we’ll be flexible with our schedule.”
FCPP will accept almost all insurance plans, she said, including Medi-Cal and CenCal.
Vaquera said that Carroll Building Company is doing the construction project.
Longtime Cambria physician Robert Gong and dentist Ramandeep Badhan (a practice formerly owned by Frank Fratto) continue to see patients in their upper-floor offices, which are easily accessible through the building’s basement entry (from the back parking lot) and the interior elevator.
Other medical facilities
Meanwhile, patients of the Cambria Community Healthcare Clinic are back to seeing their primary care healthcare provider, nurse practitioner Cesilia Lomeli, at her 2515 Main St. office.
The building had been closed for more than two weeks for some crucial roof repairs that included removing some leaky skylights, according to Bob Sayers, administrator of the Cambria Community Healthcare District, which owns the building.
Lomeli usually sees her patients Mondays through Fridays in Cambria. During those two weeks, Lomeli’s patients had to trek to Templeton for their appointments with her.
Other CHC medical professionals also treat patients in the Cambria clinic.
At CORE Care, chiropractor John Diaso purchased the practice in February from Kirk Azevedo, who continues to treat his patients on Mondays in the office at 4070 West Street. Diaso is there Tuesdays through Fridays.
He said he understands when patients “are concerned when someone leaves. Kirk is still here.”
Diaso said he’s been practicing since 1986, with 25 years in the small community of Prather and the last dozen years in an integrated clinic in Fresno.
Physical therapist Ken Bariel and athletic trainer Jeremy Alvarez are also in the CORE Care office.
Diaso said he’s hoping to add another physical therapist because Bariel is so busy on his Monday-Thursday schedule. Those therapists help patients “do more movement,” the chiropractor said. “We want to help active people with pain get rid of the pain.”
CORE Care medical equipment already includes an X-ray machine, spinal decompression, therapeutic ultrasound and cold-laser therapy.