By Karen Brainard
Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) members voted to approve Palomar Pomerado Health’s (PPH) plans for a re-designed medical clinic to be constructed on 13th Street.
The RCPG vote is pending approval by the Ramona Design Review Board.
PPH officials say they hope to begin construction of the Ramona clinic early next year and complete it within 12 to 18 months. The clinic will be built on an acre of PPH-owned property north of Main Street between 13th and 14th streets. Access will be from 13th Street across from the Ramona Library.
The long-awaited clinic has been downsized from the original plan of a 36,650-square foot two-story building to a 7,600-square-foot one-story building but there will be room for possible future expansion, said PPH officials. Construction is estimated to cost about $2 million.
The medical clinic has been designed by Mascari Warner Architects of San Diego.
The decision to downsize was necessitated by the downturn in the economy and the fact that North County Health Services could not obtain grant money to move from its current location on Earlham Street to the new clinic, said Dr. David Tam, who serves as the PPH executive of facilities, operations and construction.
With no other partners the clinic will be solely funded by Palomar Pomerado Health.
PPH and its affiliated physician organization, Arch Health Partners, will occupy the building. Arch was formerly known as Centre for Health Care.
The clinic will offer primary care, urgent care and some specialty services such as radiology with x-rays and possibly a mobile mammography unit, said Tam. It will not serve as an emergency room, he said, but if someone shows up needing emergency services, the clinic will be ready to take care of the patient.
“But not in an emergency room manner. It will be to stabilize, to get that patient as soon as possible to an emergency room, whether it be by ambulance or not,” said Tam.
Planner Kevin Wallace asked whether Kaiser Permanente patients will be able to use the clinic. Although Kaiser is affiliated with Palomar Pomerado Health, Tam said there is no space for Kaiser’s clinical work in the current plans. In an emergency, however, he said they would not turn away a Kaiser patient.
Wallace also asked if there are plans for a traffic signal at 13th and Main streets but a spokesman with the PPH group said at this point the amount of traffic will not warrant a signal.
The cost of the satellite clinic is estimated at $4.8 million. Money for the project comes from a $496 million bond that voters approved in November 2004.
In other business:
•RCPG Chair Jim Piva said he had attended a meeting earlier in the day with County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and representatives from the Ramona Municipal Water District and from San Diego Gas & Electric regarding a proposed emergency evacuation route. The route, as proposed, would cut through RMWD-owned property where spray fields are located. The water district has identified four areas of concern. Piva said he was happy to report that they have overcome the major hurdles and county legal counsel is drawing up a memorandum of understanding. He said they will be meeting again with Jacob in 30 days.
•Piva said he had attended a meeting about the Cedar Creek Falls trail and the U.S. Forest Service is considering permit access only to the trail and is organizing volunteers to patrol the trail and falls. Signs will be posted that ban diving, jumping and alcohol from Cedar Creek Falls and two other area falls, he said. The trail closed to the public after a teenager fell to his death at the waterfall just days after numerous rescues were performed during the July 4th weekend. At that time the forest service said the trail may reopen in November. Piva said at this point, a reopening date has not yet been determined.