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Dignity Health opens Monarch Village Health Center in Nipomo 

After three years of planning and development, Dignity Health opened a new primary health care center in Nipomo.

"We are very excited to have another office in a growing community on the Central Coast to provide primary care support and rotating specialists that allows us to do some additional outreach," said Dr. Scott Robertson, president of Pacific Central Coast Health Centers.

click to enlarge CARE Dignity Health officials, the South County Chambers of Commerce, and SLO County 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton (second from right) celebrated Monarch Village Health Center's ribbon cutting on Oct. 28 in Nipomo. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DIGNITY HEALTH
  • Photo Courtesy Of Dignity Health
  • CARE Dignity Health officials, the South County Chambers of Commerce, and SLO County 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton (second from right) celebrated Monarch Village Health Center's ribbon cutting on Oct. 28 in Nipomo.

Dignity Health officials celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Monarch Village Health Center on Oct. 28, but the facility has been open to patients since August, Robertson said.

"We will typically see 20 to 30 patients [a day] right now, and we are expecting the number to get up to 40 with our two current clinicians," he said. "Once we are fully ramped up and fully staffed, we can see up to 100 patients per day."

The Monarch Village Health Center marks the 48th Dignity Health Pacific Central Coast office, with others in cities spanning from Templeton to Ventura. The Nipomo clinic will be able to house four to five clinicians—whether that's physicians or physician assistants and nurse practitioners, Robertson said.

"There are 21 different medical surgical specialties, and we can bring [specialists] in on a rotating basis if we feel the need is there and we have the clinicians," he said.

The clinic's location gives Nipomo residents a closer facility, as they've been used to traveling long distances for health care services, Robertson said.

"We want to bring health care as close to patients' homes as possible," he said.

Along with the new health center's opening, Dignity Health moved its call center to Santa Maria from San Luis Obispo, Robertson added.

"All the employees working in the call center lived in Santa Maria, and that's costly from a time standpoint and a fuel standpoint," he said.

Employees had to commute 30 or more minutes each way to get to work. By moving the facility, workers are now able to spend more time with families and less time on the roads, he said.

One challenge Monarch Village Health Center still faces is sourcing medical furniture, Robertson said.

"There's been tremendous supply chain disruption, specifically with medical furniture. We are quoted 16 to 20 weeks to get exam tables," he said. "Prior it was two to three weeks."

This resulted in "impactful" delays in fully opening the center, but because it's part of Dignity Health, the clinic received some furniture that was in storage at other centers. The clinic won't use any equipment that would compromise patient or employee safety, Robertson said.

"It's very different from anything that's happened over the last 15 to 20 years," Robertson said.

"We are just trying to be the squeaky wheel with vendors to be as close to the front of the line [as possible] and make sure we are meeting our deadlines so we can continue the expansion of our services," he continued.

Through supply chain issues, the clinic continues to recruit additional clinicians to fully staff the offices and assess community needs to find specialty services best suited for Nipomo residents, he said.

"This is health care. It's complicated and especially complicated in a medical emergency, but I have extreme confidence that our medical team will provide great services to our patients," Robertson said.

The Monarch Village Health Center is located at 1560 Mesa Road, Nipomo. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and appointments can be made by calling (805) 614-5640.

Fast fact

Cal Poly's $198 million yakʔitʸutʸu Residential Community earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for being inclusive, healthy and efficient, and home to cost-saving green building features, according to the university. It's the ninth LEED-certified project at Cal Poly and was designed and built with social and environmental sustainability as a primary objective. Opened in 2018, the residential community includes seven three- to five-story residential buildings containing a total of 1,475 beds and a four-level parking structure. Δ

Staff Writer Taylor O'Connor from New Times' sister paper, the Sun, wrote this week's Strokes. Reach her through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

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