Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Lakeside Health Center celebrates 10 years serving community

The former location of Lakeside Hospital has been the Lakeside Health Center's home for 10 years. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




LAKEPORT – It's been 10 years since a dilapidated former hospital was given new life as a renovated health clinic, and on Friday a gathering commemorated that transformation and a decade of health services offered to those in need.

Lakeside Health Center, located at 5335 Lakeshore Blvd., inhabits a building that once housed Lakeside Hospital.

Since 1999 the clinic – one of three run by Mendocino Community Health Clinic Inc., which also has facilities in Willits and Ukiah – has offered a variety of health services to low-income families.

Clinic and organization employees and community members gathered Friday to celebrate its decade of service at an anniversary luncheon.

John Pavoni, chair of the Mendocino Community Health Clinic Inc. Board of Directors, said the old hospital was built in 1949 and had 33 beds.

In the late 1970s the hospital moved next door to the current Sutter Lakeside Hospital location, and the building then housed a convalescent home before sitting vacant for a time, Pavoni said.

When the clinic organization began looking for a location in Lake County, they found the empty building, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, with broken out windows.

Thanks to a $1 million loan from US Department of Agriculture's Rural Development, they renovated the building and opened for business.

Today it offers dental, medical services and psychiatric services to both children and adults. They also have obstetrics, which Chief Executive Officer Lin Hunter wants to expand.

Services are available in both English and Spanish.

Pavoni said Lakeside Health Center is a major local treatment center for HIV and hepatitis C, and it participates in national collaborations to track the most effective treatments for those diseases as well as diabetes and heart disease.

They've voluntarily pursued accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO), said Pavoni. “It's quite a bit of work to do.”

The Lakeport clinic sees hundreds of people a day. Numbers for Thursday showed close to 60 regular doctor's visits, 52 pediatric patients and 47 dental visits, according to Chief Operating Officer Carole Press.

“The regular medical community is afraid of us,” because they perceive the clinic as taking patients, said Pavoni.

But Press added, “We're really a safety net provider.”

As a federally qualified health center, Lakeside Health Center offers a sliding payment scale for patients, and also takes Medicare and Medi-Cal, Health Families and some private insurance, Press said.

Hunter estimated that the Lakeside Health Center has between 6,000 and 7,000 patients that it serves, with a total of 24,000 patients in the organization's entire Lake and Mendocino County service area.

Hunter said Mendocino Community Health Clinic Inc. recently lost $2 million in Medi-Cal reimbursements for 15,000 visits. The organization's total budget is about $21 million.

The clinic's main facility has 10 to 15 exam rooms and a 10-chair dental facility.

“They're always full,” Hunter said of the dental department. “It's a huge need in this community.”

They're especially proud of their pediatric care facility. Located behind the main building in a newly renovated and expanded facility, the pediatrics center opened in February.

There, Dr. Marlene Quilala sees children in exam rooms decorated with colorful floor tiles and exam tables shaped like dinosaurs, hippos and school buses.

At the luncheon on Friday Heidi Dickerson of Congressman Mike Thompson's office presented the clinic with a plaque commemorating its service to the community in its first decade.

For more information about the center visit www.mchcinc.org/centers/lakeside-center.php or call 707-263-7725.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .




Lakeside Health Center's colorful pediatric medical clinic has dinosaur- and hippo-shaped exam tables to make children feel more comfortable. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




The clinic sees thousands of patients annually. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


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