Family Healthcare Network bids for lease of County facility for health clinic in Tulare
By Nancy Vigran Reporter for the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – With district voters deciding on the fate of its hospital Tuesday, Tulare is also poised to see more healthcare alternatives return to the city with the potential lease of county-owned space at 1062 S. K St. to Family Healthcare Network (FHCN).
Tulare County offered the 16,000-square-foot space up for sealed bid following the Tulare Regional Medical Center’s hospital closure last October. It had been utilized by the district as a medical clinic, but the district cleaned it out and turned it back over to the county, according to Kevin Northcraft, TRMC board president.
FHCN was the only entity to bid for the lease, but it is a good one, said Tulare County Board Supervisor Pete Vander Poel. The initial lease period would be for seven years and would include not only the monthly square footage rate of $1.20/foot but also more than $1 million worth of improvements to the property.
According to the letter of intent, FHCN intends to offer primary care and special services with up to 21 exam rooms and a pharmacy on site, while providing for approximately 30,000 patient visits per year. Services would include family medicine, on-site laboratory services, behavioral health, nutrition counseling, patient health coaching, and community health and outreach services.
FHCN prides itself on providing service to anyone within the community, regardless of their ability to pay. The organization’s clinics accept most any private insurance, Medicare, MediCal, and offer sliding-fee schedules based on family size and income.
It is unclear at this time whether FHCN intends to retain its current medical and dental facility on West St. and its children’s clinic on Cherry St. once the new facility opens. Although, the letter of intent alluded to an estimated 33 new jobs which would need to be filled.
Northcraft said he welcomes the new FHCN clinic to the area. It, along with the potential passing of Measure H which will allow Adventist Health to lease the hospital keeping it open, will bring healthcare in the community health care in the community back to the level it was before the closures.
FHCN will be a good provider, he said, and “more power to them.”
It is not a competition, he added. With Adventist Health’s management of the hospital, a new FHCN clinic and Altura, which has several health clinics in the area, there are a lot of good healthcare options for the local residents.
“It’s about providing the best healthcare available, and working together to do so,” he said.
Supervisor Vander Poel concurred. “It’s the ultimate goal, and without patients clogging up the emergency room with non-emergency issues.”
The letter of intent was accepted by the Board of Supervisors. Currently, the county is working together with FHCN on finalizing a lease agreement.
Representatives of FHCN did not wish to further comment at this time.