Kaweah Delta to open new clinic in Tulare

Multi-specialty care center in Tulare will provide specialty care for 20% of Kaweah Delta patients who live in Tulare

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – Even though Adventist Health Tulare is open and accepting patients, there is still a need for more health care in Tulare County’s second largest city.

On Sept. 19, Kaweah Delta announced plans to open a new multi-specialty care center in Tulare. The nearly 10,000-square foot clinic will be located in the former IRS building at the corner of Prosperity Avenue and Mooney Boulevard. It will expand upon Kaweah Delta’s existing partnership with the physicians of Visalia Medical Clinic to bring primary care, walk-in, and specialty physician services to the people of Tulare. Through the Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation, the 2015 partnership between Kaweah Delta and Visalia Medical Clinic, Kaweah Delta has operated a primary care and cardiology office for the past three years at 938 North Cherry Street in Tulare.

“Tulare is an important community for Kaweah Delta. We know that outside of Visalia residents, more Tulare residents come to Kaweah Delta than any other community,” Kaweah Delta CEO Gary Herbst said. “Nearly 20 percent of our hospital patients are from Tulare. At any given time, we typically have 70 Tulare residents in our hospital. We feel privileged to care for these patients and we are committed to increasing their access to care that is close to home.”

Tulare residents visit Kaweah Delta’s ED more than 10,000 times per year. Almost 2,000 of those visits are for lower-acuity care that could more appropriately be provided in an urgent care setting.

“While this clinic will increase access to primary care and specialty physicians, we also believe it will be effective in helping reduce overcrowding in our emergency department,” Herbst said. “Often people visit the emergency department for care that could have been provided in a physician’s office. By offering extended hours and walk-in services, we hope to curb some of those visits.”

Tulare County is one of the most clinically underserved counties in California. There is one primary care physician for every 2,350 people in Tulare County, a doctor-to-patient ratio that ranks the county 49th out of 58 California counties. A community needs study conducted by the Coker Group has projected that by 2020 Tulare County will need more than 50 additional primary care physicians. Meanwhile, Kaweah Delta has one of the busiest emergency departments in the state, with more than 90,000 annual visits.

Patients of the new clinic will have the choice between scheduled appointments and walk-in services, seven days a week including evenings. Physicians and other providers will offer primary care and specialty services such as pediatrics, cardiology, orthopedics, diabetes care, surgery, and urology. The physicians will care for patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Sierra View Medical Center, and Adventist Health Tulare.

“We don’t view this new clinic as competing with existing providers in Tulare. By expanding our existing services in Tulare we are bringing important new care to a community that remains underserved,” Herbst said.

Bruce Hall, MD, the medical director for the Kaweah Delta Medical Foundation who has cared for patients in Tulare County for more than 35 years, said the new clinic will help serve the community. “The development of this clinic will help Kaweah Delta and Visalia Medical Clinic better serve residents of Tulare and the surrounding area,” said Hall, who will help recruit new physicians into the community to join the clinic, and will bring some of VMC’s Visalia-based specialists to Tulare to care for patients.  “All of the care provided in the clinic – primary care, walk-in, and specialty services – will be highly coordinated and physician-led.”

The new Tulare clinic will accept patients with commercial insurance, Medicare, and Medi-Cal coverage. Providers will use Kaweah Delta’s Cerner electronic health record, ensuring that care in the clinic is integrated with the full breadth of Kaweah Delta’s clinical services. Information entered into the patient record at the clinic will be available to physicians in the hospital, and physicians in the clinic will be able to see information from patient care provided in the hospital and other locations. Kaweah Delta will recruit new clinic staff from the community and does not expect any RNs that are currently working at Kaweah Delta Medical Center to transfer to the clinic.

Kaweah Delta expects to begin seeing patients in Spring 2020 at the new Tulare clinic. For more information, visit www.kaweahdelta.org.

Start typing and press Enter to search