New Sonoma County VA Clinic to Expand Services to Growing Veteran Population

Despite some pandemic-related construction delays, Sonoma County’s new full-service outpatient medical clinic — intended to serve military veterans on the North Shore — opened last month, on time and on schedule.

Dubbed Santa Rosa VA Clinic South, the nearly 58,000 square foot facility is more than double the size of the VA Clinic on Brickway Boulevard, which opened in 2009 near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma Airport. County.

The 13-year-old clinic was twice the size of the one it replaced on Chanate Road (which opened 13 years earlier in 1996) in a growth pattern that speaks to the growing population of local veterans who need health care services.

“The goal is really to expand additional services for veterans not only in Sonoma County but also in northern areas because we have veterans coming down from clinics in Eureka, Ukiah and Clearlake (VA ) to get specialized services,” Deidre said. Davis, acting director of ambulatory care for the San Francisco VA health care system.

Davis said the Brickway Boulevard Clinic, now called the Santa Rosa VA North Clinic, will remain operational and will primarily provide home-based primary care services. Together, the two Santa Rosa clinics will serve as a central hub for the VA’s Northern California clinics, increasing internal referrals and decreasing community care in northern counties.

Services at the new state-of-the-art clinic include primary care, podiatry, dermatology, vascular care; mental health, social work, a unit dedicated to women’s health, physiotherapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, prosthetics, extended telemedicine, orthopaedics, radiology, pharmacy and laboratory.

The new clinic is located at 2285 Challenger Way in southwest Santa Rosa, near a number of other medical complexes, including Kaiser Permanente Medical Office on Mercury Way, St. Joseph and the Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit for Psychiatric Emergencies.

Like many new health care facilities, Challenger Way Clinic was designed to provide integrated health services in one location. These include mental health, dental care, primary care, physiotherapy and optometric imaging services.

The very large semi-partitioned waiting room has a lactation module, one of the two in the clinic. The sides of the pod are decorated with a painting of a blue sky and white clouds.

Several hallways branch off from a long hallway in the main section of the clinic. Signage indicates different medical services, such as dental care, primary care, behavioral health.

In the middle of the primary care section of the clinic is an open workspace where teams of healthcare professionals work in pods. There are 10 such primary care teams, where a physician or nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed professional nurse, and medical planner work side by side.

“It really improves the coordination of care for the patient,” Davis said, adding that healthcare professionals at the old clinic were sometimes on different floors.

This kind of coordinated care helps create a more efficient flow of patients for a growing veteran population. Currently, the Santa Rosa VA Clinic averages about 9,150 unique patients per year and 76,500 physician visits with its existing services, Davis said. This population was approximately 5,000 patients when the Brickway Boulevard Clinic opened in 2009.

She said the new alignment of services in Sonoma County will average between 11,000 and 12,000 unique patients over the coming year, with about 105,000 to 115,000 patient visits. Davis said the VA expects the patient population to continue growing through 2026, when it is expected to peak at 13,250 patients and 125,000 visits.

The biggest growth in medical services is expected to be in specialist care, mental health and rehabilitation services, she said. Driving that growth, she added, is a combination of services now provided at the main San Francisco VA campus, as well as new patients being transferred to North Bay.

You can reach editor Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or [email protected] On Twitter @pressreno.