NMCSD Brings Primary Health Care to East County

Story Number: NNS061129-08Release Date: 11/29/2006 4:43:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Cindy Gill, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center San Diego celebrated the grand opening of the new $3.2 million East County Primary Care Clinic in Santee Nov. 28.

It is the first free-standing military clinic in San Diego's East County. Santee began primary care services Nov. 13.

Rear Adm. Brian G. Brannman, Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego said in his remarks that it had been a short interval from the initial concept to the opening. Ground broke for the clinic Feb. 24, 2005.

"This clinic is a Navy Medicine, Navy Health Care and family effort," said Brannman.

He added that there is hope for a long relationship and a bigger, more vital part of the Santee community.

"The idea of a clinic in East County came from seeing parents of pediatric patients who live in Lakeside drive from 32nd St. [to] home to get their child and return to Balboa for an appointment," said Deputy Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego, Capt. David A. Tam, who led the focus group and oversaw the project. "There was definitely a need for quality health care in the area, and now we have it."

An unusual aspect of the clinic is the early involvement of patients and family members at the conception of the clinic. Leading the group was Tam and Lisa Ziemke, a retired medical service corps commander. Other members included seven patients and architect Marcus Thorn.

A focus group was established to use the patient and family centered care philosophy in the planning and delivery of healthcare. Suggestions incorporated into the clinic ranged from exam room layout and warm colors to televisions and a separate child care center.

Another suggestion from the focus group was the implementation of pharmacy pagers. With the clinic located in a shopping center rather than a Naval Base, patients can run errands while waiting for their prescriptions.

Physically, the clinic consists of two buildings. The main building (Building 120) houses primary care, including 10 examination rooms and two treatment rooms, along with the Radiology and Clinical Laboratory spaces taking up 6,500 square feet.

The second building (Building 110) has the pharmacy which features a new state-of-the-art robotic prescription dispensing system. Also, there are the administrative offices, video teleconference room and staff lounge.

Conveniently located in Santee Town Center, the clinic is near transit lines and stores such as Costco and Walmart.

Santee's mayor, Randy Voepel, said the community has many military families, both active duty and retired.

"You do very important work in helping Santee families," said Voepel.

For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.

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