The Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Health Care Act earlier this year means residents will soon be able to purchase medical coverage through health insurance exchanges that subsidize a portion of the cost.
To prepare for the influx of new patients, many of who were previously ineligible or could not afford insurance, the Petaluma Health Center is planning an expansion and has hired five new doctors in the past month.
The health center, which moved into a new and much larger office on North McDowell last year, already sees 18,000 patients. But with many more new patients becoming eligible, the center estimates its could see as many as 21,000 patients a year by 2015.
To meet the need, PHC will soon start a capital campaign to raise $3 million for a new wing, which would accommodate an additional 3,000 to 5,000 patients a year. It will hold services for children, pregnant women as well as a pharmacy, optometry and space for group classes.
The new hires, meanwhile, are already onboard and seeing patients. They include a family medicine physician, internal medicine doctor, geropsychologist (that’s a psychologist for seniors) and two physician assistants. They join 170 existing doctors, nurses and support staff at the center.