The coronavirus pandemic has forced a litany of changes throughout 2020 so far. In California, one of the latest adjustments in that running list is the plans surrounding a new community health clinic space, which would've been constructed and open for business by now if the year were a normal one.
Work on Jefferson City Medical Group's new Family Health Clinic, an improved space that will eventually be built on Buchanan Street next to McDonald's, has been postponed until further notice. The clinic's old space, which JCMG was previously leasing and will soon house a Community Health Center, closed at the end of June.
"JCMG continues to retain that piece of land, and we do hope to proceed with the build of that new clinic, but we do not have a reopen date or a start date for the project at this time," Jamie Patterson, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for JCMG, said.
Patterson said JCMG made the decision to postpone work on the project earlier this year, around the same time that the Family Health Clinic's former primary care provider, Dr. Nathan Granneman, departed. The focus then shifted to helping inform patients and working with them to shift their care. Patterson said that work started in April.
"We wanted to make sure that all of those patients could transition their care as quickly and conveniently as possible," Patterson said.
Patterson said JCMG's patient care liaison, Lori Smith, plays a large part in making sure patients have help in the event that they need to find a new primary care physician. Patterson said patients at the California clinic ended up dispersing to a handful of new physicians after going over their options with Smith.
Smith worked with patients in California from the Family Health Clinic every Tuesday from April to June to help them make their transitions smoothly.
"You want to retain (your patient base), but it's very, very important to have continuity of care for them and make sure their transition is smooth and that it occurs in a timely way," Patterson said. "We don't want anyone running out of medication or having any gaps in care that might be detrimental to their health."
Along these same lines, Patterson said JCMG was able to expand its telehealth options earlier this year during the onset of the pandemic. She said there was a wider range of visits that could be done via telehealth, thanks to relaxed governmental guidelines, allowing patients in California and elsewhere to establish care with a primary physician remotely.