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Articles / 2008

Hospital opens new health clinic for families
Buenaventura Medical Group was once in building

By Michelle L. Klampe
Ventura County Star
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Community Memorial Health System has relocated and expanded its Ventura Center for Family Health in an effort to meet community demand for health providers.

"We saw there was a huge demand for family practice and especially internal medicine," said Dr. Richard Reisman, medical director for the Centers for Family Health. "We've probably doubled our providers" already.

The new clinic is at 120 N. Ashwood Ave. The office was once used by Buenaventura Medical Group but was shuttered after Kaiser Permanente acquired BMG last year. The nonprofit HMO lost about 30,000 of BMG's patients in the takeover.

"We had an excess of office space, and we wanted to have all of our primary care in one building," said Mary Jarvis, public affairs director for Kaiser in west Ventura County. The family practice physicians using the Ashwood facilities moved to Kaiser's Hill Road offices to join the internal medicine and pediatric physicians, Jarvis said.

CMH's previous Ventura clinic, on Telephone Road, housed three primary care providers in cramped quarters.

"Once we heard the medical offices (on Ashwood) were being vacated, it was an opportunity we did not want to let go by," Reisman said.

The Telephone Road clinic is closing, with the current providers there moving to the Ashwood offices, Reisman said. The new clinic will have space for nine primary care providers, including a new internal medicine physician, two nurse practitioners, obstetric and gynecology services, and more.

"In the next two weeks, we'll be starting a pediatric subspecialist who specializes in pulmonary problems and infectious diseases," Reisman said. "I've been recruiting a dermatologist and also another internist."

The clinic, open just two weeks, has already seen a 40 percent increase in patient visits compared to the Telephone Road clinic, Reisman said. The clinic is on track to record 2,000 patient visits in April, double that seen at the Telephone Road site.

The Kaiser takeover of Buenaventura left hundreds of patients scrambling to find new physicians because their doctors no longer accepted their insurance. The Centers for Family Health, which has several clinics throughout Ventura County, picked up a number of former BMG patients, Reisman said. The centers accept Medi-Cal and Medicare, and most private and managed care insurance plans.

"Last year, our overall growth in the centers was 15 percent," he said.

In response to the demand, CMH has added providers at several of its clinics and plans to expand clinics in Camarillo and Oxnard, Reisman said.

To contact the new clinic, call 643-1871.