The new Vista Community Clinic recently celebrated its grand opening and will be able to help more people in the North County.
Over the last few years, the number of patients the Vista Community Clinic has served increased substantially.
"The old clinic had outgrown itself," said Barbara Mannino, the clinic's chief executive officer.
Last year, the Vista Community Clinic helped more than 52,000 patients during 220,000 visits, which represented a 9 percent increase from 2007.
"The economic crisis has exacerbated the already tremendous need for affordable health care," Dr. Kelly Motadel, medical director, said in a statement. "We are proud to be able to serve even more community members during this difficult time."
The new clinic, located at 134 Grapevine right off state Route 78, is a 12,000-square-foot facility on two floors with 21 rooms. It is twice the size of its predecessor.
The Vista Community Clinic provides primary health care to all ages and offers such services as pediatrics, family practice, prenatal care and HIV treatment. A laboratory and pharmacy also are on the premises. The clinic holds health education programs and provides health care to 1-in-4 Vista residents and 1-in-10 Oceanside residents.
"The majority of our patients are uninsured (and come from) low to moderate income, and many people are coming to us now because they are unemployed or have (recently) lost their health insurance ... and are relying on the clinic more and more," Mannino said.
There are 45-50 staff members, including doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, at the clinic at any given time.
The $6 million project was funded through philanthropy groups, private donors and federal dollars. Some of the larger donors included Kaiser Permanente and DJO Inc.
"We were able to raise enough money that we will not have a mortgage on (the building)," Mannino said.
The clinic leased its former space at a cost of more than $200,000 a year.
"Today that money is going into hiring the doctors you see here," Mannino added.
The project broke ground in July of last year and took 12 months to complete. The clinic, a private nonprofit provider, opened July 20 and has been serving the community since.
Architect Linas Naujokaitis designed the new facility. Construction was managed by Erickson-Hall Construction Co. and approximately 65 workers -- from subcontractors and other construction technicians -- were on site.
The clinic was constructed with a slab concrete foundation with wood framing and stucco on the outer walls.
The project meets LEED Silver standards from the U.S. Green Building Council, but the clinic chose not to pursue the certification due to cost.
"The building itself has high energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems," said Jim Fisher, construction manager for Erickson-Hall. "And, as a matter of fact, (the clinic) is up for rebates from SDG&E."
He added that the mechanical and electrical systems are the most unique aspects of the building from a construction standpoint due to state and federal standards.
One of the most challenging aspects of the project was implementing all the state-of-the-art technology, like the new patient documentation computers and programs, according to Fisher.
The federal government is giving health care providers until 2014 to get all their medical records and paper work into an electronic form with the belief that this will improve the quality of health care and reduce the expense to patients and the government.
Mannino said the clinic has already started to make this transition with the goal to have all of its patients' records in electronic form by next summer.