Russian River Health and Wellness: Frequently Asked Questions
When will the new facility open?
WE ARE OPEN!!
What type of services will be provided at the new Russian River Health & Wellness Center?
The Russian River Health and Wellness Center will offer full spectrum Primary Care: newborns to elders, Obstetrics and Prenatal care, Behavioral Health and Psychiatric services, HIV/AIDS primary care, Immunizations, Complementary and Integrative healthcare services, group health visits, health education, drug and alcohol addiction support services, Dental care, gender affirming primary and specialty care. The Resiliency Center, a single floor building on the east side of the property, will offer two large group spaces and a lab draw station. This space is designed to be a community asset and will be available for West County Health Center groups and meetings and additionally for community organizations or groups that would like to utilize the space. The lab draw station will be managed by Quest Diagnostics and will be available for anyone in the community. There will also be a large outdoor space for community and wellness activities as we take advantage of the beautiful, healing nature in the lower Russian River area.
How was the First Street property chosen for the new building site?
The WCHC building design committee began site selection after the fire and they went through a process of assessing various available properties including our own. The committee considered the various pros and cons of each property including purchase cost, timeliness to get back to delivering healthcare services, both short term and long term, and permitting and financing considerations. Out of four properties considered, the First Street property satisfied WCHC priorities above the other available properties. The parcel was offered to WCHC by the property owner who had been a former patient and felt a strong connection to his medical provider at the Russian River Health Center. The WCHC Board of Directors made the final selection. Everyone involved in the selection process felt that the property offered a healthier and more healing space for our patients and staff because of the natural environment and the proximity to the Russian River.
Who came up with the design for the exterior of the building?
WCHC has a building design committee comprised of patients, staff, and WCHC board members from the community who have been meeting regularly since the fire with local architects who have many successful projects in our area and a consultant who specializes in medical facility design. This process included a survey of other buildings and architectural styles which are prevalent throughout the lower Russian River and considered aesthetically pleasing.
Why is the new health center so much bigger?
West County Health Centers serves 3,000 medical patients, 1,500 dental patients, and employs 60 full time professional staff at the Russian River Health Center, Dental Clinic, and Administrative Offices in Guerneville. The new building will meet the increasing need for medical, dental, and behavioral health services and fulfill requirements for new construction of medical facilities including ADA standards. An increase in square footage of this magnitude is necessary to continue providing a minimum of 9,805 medical visits, 5,175 dental visits, and 2,353 behavioral health visits per year at the Russian River location.
Does WCHC need help paying for this new $15.3 million dollar state of the art medical facility?
YES. West County Health Centers is actively seeking philanthropic donors to partner with us in meeting our capital financing needs https://www.wchealth.org/news/russian-riverhealth-and-wellness/ West County Health Centers has initiated a comprehensive capital fundraising effort to ensure the Russian River Health and Wellness Center becomes a reality. Delays in permitting and dramatic increases in construction costs after the wildfires pushed the construction budget for the main building from $10.4 to $14.3 million. To date, our Capital Campaign has raised more than $5 million from major donors and hundreds of individual donations. An additional $1.24 million from insurance payments and a $1 million federal grant for the construction of the Resiliency Center. The balance of the project costs was funded through a $9 million tax-exempt bond financing which allowed us to move forward with construction that will need to be paid off through monthly payments totaling $550,000 a year. Donations to help with these payments or to reduce the principle would be tremendously helpful.
Will the new building be LEED Certified?
NO. It will be built to LEED Standards to reduce our carbon footprint and incorporates solar panels and other energy efficient and environmentally friendly building practices. However, it is not our intention to spend limited resources and time on silver, gold, or platinum certification at this time.
Is the new building design earthquake proof?
YES. New medical facilities in California including Community Health Centers are required to be built to an OSHPD 3 construction standards which include earthquake safety as well as many other medical facility improvements.
Will the new health center building flood?
NO. The new Russian River Health Center building plans exceed the minimum elevation above the 100-year flood plain per FEMA Standard requirements. The property elevation is 47ft and plans for the new structure include first floor parking and the 2nd and 3rd floors will be the medical and dental offices.
Will the riparian area of the property along the Russian River be protected and maintained?
YES. The West County Health Centers building design committee has also been working with a landscape architect to protect the environmentally sensitive area of our property while providing access to views and other natural healing elements for our patients.
Where will people park?
The first floor of the main medical facility will be parking, with enough spaces available for patients with appointments. The front of the new building and entrance has been designed to encourage pedestrian and bicycle access. The previous RRHC site is also designated for parking.
Was the arsonist who burned down the original RRHC building ever apprehended?
No, not to our knowledge. A number of security measures have been put in place and continued to protect the health and safety of our patients, staff, or anyone occupying our facilities and to deter any type of vandalism or destruction of property.
What will happen to the WCHC properties on Mill Street once the new RRHC is open?
At this time, the WCHC Board of Directors does not have plans to divest of any real estate. In the future, WCHC will consider other uses for the properties depending on the needs of our patients and our community. Leasing to other collaborative non-profits in need of space, development options with partners who build low income and work force housing, parking, or other future opportunities that support the health and wellbeing for all people may be considered.
Is West County Health Centers funded or managed by the County of Sonoma?
No, WCHC is a private non-profit federally qualified health center governed by a Board of Directors who are local community members and most of whom are patients. West County Health Centers has been awarded grants through the County of Sonoma to provide various health and medical services such as HIV Testing and health screenings. WCHC continues to have a collaborative relationship with the Department of Health Services and participates in a variety of health focused initiatives and campaigns coordinated by the County of Sonoma.
How many West County Health Centers patients are homeless?
Less than 5% of WCHC’s 15,000 patients are considered chronically unhoused. West County Health Centers has established a Healthcare for the Homeless program which will continue as a stand-alone site and will not be part of the new building. Please see our Homeless FAQ located here: http://www.wchealth.org/service/homeless-healthcareservices.
Will there be transportation services to the new health center?
The Russian River Health and Wellness Center is located at First and Mill Streets just a block from the public bus stop on Main Street. There is a regular bus route that serves the West County. Seniors and people with special needs may also use the Volunteer Wheels program through the Russian River Senior Center. In some cases, WCHC will arrange taxi services for patients with urgent medical needs.
Will patients of other WCHC locations be able to use the services at the new RRHWC?
Most of the medical and behavioral health services at the new health center are available at our other locations. WCHC patients from any location will be able to access dental services at the new site. There will be health education classes and groups available at this site that will also be available to all WCHC patients.
When can I see a Dentist at the new site?
We are actively recruiting a new team for the dental clinic and we hope that patients will be able to start using this service by September 2022.
Will there be in-person groups?
Yes, the new building has many indoor and outdoor spaces for in-person groups and there will be a regular calendar of classes and support groups available.
Will Dental services return to Guerneville?
The Sebastopol Community Dental Center at 6800 Palm Ave, Suite C will remain there and a second Dental Clinic will be opening in the new building in Guerneville. Each location will have five dental chairs and a full team of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and support staff.
Will there be physical therapy services?
The new location has rooms that are large enough for physical therapy services and we plan to develop a physical therapy program to complement our other services after we have settled into the new site.
Will there be radiology services?
We will not be offering radiology services in Guerneville. These services require specialized equipment and staffing that is not affordable for the health center to offer directly to its patients. The closest radiology services are in Santa Rosa.
Will there be Quest lab services?
YES! We are in negotiations with Quest to have a draw station available at least three days a week. It will be available for WCHC patients and other community members.
What will happen to the old RRHC building?
The building at 16319 Third Street is a modular unit that was leased after the fire. It will be returned to the modular company and the empty lot on the corner of Church and Third will be converted to parking.
Are you accepting new patients?
The Russian River Health and Wellness Center will be accepting new patients after we open.
How do I become a patient of WCHC?
To establish care at WCHC, please call (707) 869-2849 and ask to make a new patient appointment. There will be a wait time for your first appointment. It is best to meet your provider and become familiar with the health center team as soon as possible so that they will be available when you need them.
Do you have a question about the Russian River Health and Wellness Center?
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