El Dorado County health clinic expands, will build new facility with federal funds

First there’s the elation over the new funds. Then, the realization of mounds of work to be done.

So it goes for the El Dorado County Community Health Center, which is looking forward to an infusion of more than $1 million in Affordable Care Act funds to allow the nonprofit county-based operation to expand to a new clinic in Cameron Park.

“Are we excited? Yes. Are we stressed? Yes,” said Stacy Bolton, clinic executive director. Bolton was referring to what it’ll take to get the new satellite facility up and running within the clinic’s target goal of three years.

El Dorado clinic officials applied for the so-called New Access Point grant in anticipation of increased demand for health care under the ACA, which will extend private insurance and Medi-Cal to thousands more people in the region.

As Medi-Cal enrollees seek health care, they no doubt will run up against physicians and providers who refuse to accept patients covered by the government program, with its relatively low reimbursements.

“Many local practices are closed to publicly insured patients,” clinic documents said. “Compounding the difficulty is that there is no one source of accurate information about which practices have openings for new patients, or will take ... new patients who do not have private medical insurance.”

El Dorado County’s plans to expand to meet its growing patient base means it will catch up with community clinics in Sacramento and Yolo counties that have already received and used federal funds to get construction going for new clinic expansions.

The funding boost – $108,333 through December and $983,467 for 2014 – is part of a multimillion-dollar allocation to 46 federally qualified health clinics in California. Community clinics from Eureka to Escondido are amping up operations to accommodate what’s anticipated to be a flood of newly covered patients.

The money specifically will support the clinic’s work in providing a medical home, or health care home-base of sorts, to patients at the clinics. The clinics are also open to undocumented immigrants and will charge fees to everyone based on a sliding scale of affordability.

The clinic’s main building is located at 4327 Golden Center Drive and a second clinic is at 4641 Missouri Flat Road, both in Placerville.

The new facility is to be sited in Cameron Park in response to feedback from the community, Bolton said.