A new $31.5 million project will create two new health care “supercenters” in rural California, following financing by the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC).
The project enables Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, Inc. (CHC) to build new state-of-the-art facilities in Lompoc and Paso Robles, expanding critical and life-saving primary care to an underserved agricultural region.
When completed, both sites will occupy a total of 48,800 square feet, serving a combined 29,000 patients through 104,000 visits and creating 120 full-time jobs and 91 construction jobs. CHC classifies the locations as supercenters — facilities with extended operating hours that provide a full range of health care services — including primary care for all ages, optometry, dentistry, chiropractic care, mental health, nutrition, lab, pharmacy, and other specialty services.
PCDC provided funding for the project, including $10 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation and a $7.31 million loan.
“We at CHC are grateful for PCDC’s support of this exciting project,” said Ronald E. Castle, CEO of CHC. “Ultimately this means more Californians will have access to the quality, affordable care they need and deserve.”
Though currently operating in both Lompoc and Paso Robles, CHC’s existing locations are unable to meet patient demand — the typical wait time is one month to see a general practitioner and over two weeks to visit a behavioral health specialist at either site. A 60-day wait for dental appointments is especially problematic in Lompoc, which has been designated a dental shortage area. By adding 14 dental operatories and five additional dentists, the new facility will better meet an acute need for services.
More than 90 percent of CHC’s patients live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; 17 percent are uninsured. Moreover, the patient population is less healthy than the region as a whole — a disproportionate number are undergoing treatment for diabetes, cancer, mental health, and sexually transmitted diseases.
CHC has deployed the supercenter model with great success at two of its 28 locations — the “one-stop-shop” supercenters saw significant increases in patient satisfaction and utilization.
“CHC is committed to providing high quality care throughout the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County, and their model is a shining example of affordable and accessible patient-centered care,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director at PCDC. “PCDC is proud to work with CHC to increase primary care access in the Paso Robles and Lompoc communities.”
CHC was founded in 1978 to serve the Central Coast’s seasonal and migrant agricultural workers. Recognizing the importance of consistent and affordable care for this transient population, CHC opened a small clinic with just seven employees.
Since then, CHC has grown to 28 sites and five mobile units, employs over 800 people, and spans 120 miles. The centers are strategically located on the rural agricultural coast of California, fostering a continued focus on care delivery to agricultural workers, as well as expansion into homeless care and school-based health services.