Doctors and community members broke bread and broke ground together Wednesday to celebrate the fruition of a dream—the beginning of development of an urgent care clinic on 13th Street in Ramona. The clinic is expected to be completed by Palomar Health next spring. Arch Healthcare, formerly called the Centre for Health Care, will provide services there. The group has current offices in Ramona, Poway, San Marcos and Escondido.
Ramona Ambulatory Care Center will be open in the early evenings during the week and then on Saturdays. Hours could be extended if the need is there, said Scott Flinn, Arch medical director.
The vision has been a long time coming to pass.
Thirty-two years ago, three doctors—Marcelo Rivera, Robert Zgliniec and Michael Barker —came up with the idea of an urgent care. Community members such as Arvie and John Degenfelder have rallied for residents' support, along with additional support from the Ramona Intergenerational Community Center group and Palomar Health.
"If you want to predict your future, help build it," Arvie Degenfelder told the audience of about 130 gathered under a white marquee tent for a reception. The comment was met with hearty applause.
"Medical facilities make a town a destination," Michael Covert, president and CEO of Palomar Health said. "I bet in two years, we'll be expanding. So keep the vision."
Funding for the urgent care clinic is from a $496-million bond measure passed by Palomar Health district voters in 2004. Some of those funds have gone into the new Palomar Medical Center in west Escondido, due to open Aug. 19.
With big smiles and some hugs on Wednesday, representatives of Arch, Palomar Health and the Ramona community lifted shovels of soil into the air on the three-acre site.
"This shows that dedication and passion in a community can really work," Marcia Jackson of Palomar Health said.
Arch will move its staff from its Main Street location into the clinic. It's not known whether any additional people will be hired for the facility, though Palomar Health is bringing on 400 new people in general, said David Tam, M.D. who is overseeing the two projects. People can go to the district's website for information.
Contractor for the project is C.W. Driver. The architectural firm is Mascari and Warner. Both are from San Diego.