Umpqua Health-Newton Creek opened for business Wednesday morning, with patients walking into the two-story, 25,000-square-foot clinic for the first time.

The Newton Creek clinic gave a preview of its new facility on Tuesday morning.

The clinic has nine providers and 29 clinical staff members plus administrative staff, with plans for an urgent care clinic and more personnel in the future.

It is offering care in pediatrics, primary care and behavioral health to the 26,000 Douglas County residents on the Oregon Health Plan, and close to 10,000 more people with Medicare or other private insurances.

Kat Cooper, manager of community outreach and communications for Umpqua Health, said it’s a big step for Douglas County in trying to get more providers to come to the area.

“The fact that we have this beautiful new facility to bring providers in kind of cements our commitment to the community. And it’s not just for OHP patients, but it’s for everyone who needs help to access care, and that’s what we’re here for,” she said.

And for those who have had a hard time finding a primary care physician, the doctors will be taking new patients.

Psychiatrist Leigh Anne Bressler was recruited at a job fair. She said she likes working in rural areas and not having to specialize in one area. She’s always had an interest in rural health and the underserved population, plus she wanted to stay in Oregon.

“I’m very much a generalist, and in a small town like this, I’m wearing a lot of hats, which is scary but exciting,” Bressler said.

County Commissioner Tim Freeman said the project represents a commitment from Umpqua Health to be in the community and serve the citizens of Douglas County for the long term. Freeman serves on the Umpqua Health Alliance board.

“As we go through transitions of where people are going to get care and what the state does with funding, it’s more and more difficult to attract providers,” Freeman said. “Providers can go and work anywhere. And having nice facilities and having that long-term commitment in the community helps them make decisions about coming here, so I think that’s an important part about what this building represents.”

The general design concept for the two-story building is four separate pods per floor, all of which connect to a central area. On the first floor, each pod contains six exam rooms, a vitals/triage station, a medical assistant station, a provider office, patient and staff restrooms and a procedure room.

Three of the pods on the second floor will initially be offices outfitted for administrative personnel, but are designed to easily convert into additional clinical space. The fourth pod on the second floor will be a pediatric care center, with its own bright, colorful design scheme and pediatric reception and waiting area.

Dr. Richardo Zegarra-Linares, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases in children, moved his practice from the Harvard Avenue clinic to the new facility. He will deal with newborns through 17-year-olds, and most of those will be on the Oregon Health Plan. He was impressed with the building, like the idea of having a wide range of health services under one room.

“We’ve got everything together, but everyone has their own space, so it gives enough for each of the specialists to feel comfortable in their own area,” Zegarra-Linares said. “You can see the color and the light is just wonderful, and I think it’s a good thing for the community with the health services we’re going to provide here.”

Freeman said, “Having all the disciplines here working together is going to be more efficient and create a better outcome.”

Bressler said having the mental health services there will be a big benefit for the patients.

“It really does, and at all levels,” she said.

Most of the project is finished except for some detail work and the urgent care clinic, which is expected to open in January.

When the urgent care clinic does open, plans call for it to operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week.

The clinic is located on about seven acres along Northeast Stephens Street, just south of the Douglas County Farmers Co-Op in north Roseburg, with room for future expansion.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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