San Mateo County to consolidate clinics later this year 

The San Mateo County Health System is consolidating three out-of-date clinics into a single facility in North Fair Oaks, according to officials.

The new facility includes increased capacity for patients and greatly expanded treatment options, such as on-site dental care, a patient health library and even a meditation garden. The Health System designed the new clinic with a wellness approach to treatment in mind, said CEO Dr. Susan Ehrlich of the San Mateo Medical Center, which is running the new facility.

"The clinic's design incorporates our new model for treatment," Ehrlich said. "We're focused on wellness."

The 36,000-square-foot facility at 2710 Middlefield Road will provide a team of experts, including a psychologist, social worker and other specialist physicians. The experts will be divided into 18 teams.

"It's not just me and a nurse anymore," Ehrlich said.

The new building will cost $22 million — a tab that primarily is being picked up by a private owner, Nariman Teymourian. The county will lease the property, and after five years it will have the option to purchase it outright.

"I'm an immigrant and this country has been extremely generous to me," Teymourian said. "I served in the Marine Corps because I wanted to give back, and I want to keep giving back to this country.

"I'm leasing the land to the county at 35 percent below market rate because that's all they can afford."

The single facility replaces three aging clinics. One, the Fair Oaks Children's Clinic, is currently composed of nine trailers pushed together to form a makeshift building. Another, the Willow Clinic, has been given notice from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to vacate its current site. The third is the Fair Oaks Clinic.

The aging clinics serve some of the county's poorest residents — many of whom are either underinsured or uninsured, officials said. Overall, about 50 percent of the Health System's patients are Latino.

The new facility also will be accessible by public transit. In January, SamTrans is scheduled to double the frequency of its 296 bus route, which connects East Palo Alto and Belle Haven to the new site. Ehrlich said the Health System is working with other agencies, such as Caltrans and the San Mateo Department of Public Works, to make additional improvements for bike and pedestrian accessibility.

The temporarily named South County Health Center will receive its official designation at the Sept. 10 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Once an official designation has been decided on, the Health System plans to begin printing and distributing additional outreach and education materials.

The agency estimates that it will begin to staff and stock the new facility in October, and will begin treating patients the first week of December.

Officials estimate the new clinic will serve about 20,000 patients.

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