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Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics Now Seeing Patients at New Goleta Facility

SBNC holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its expansion at 5580 Calle Real, where 9,000 people are expected to receive medical care each year

Dr. Charles Fenzi, chief medical officer for the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, gives a tour Friday of the newly opened primary care facility at 5580 Calle Real in Goleta.
Dr. Charles Fenzi, chief medical officer for the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, gives a tour Friday of the newly opened primary care facility at 5580 Calle Real in Goleta. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics officially started seeing patients at its new Goleta facility on Monday and expects to serve 9,000 people per year.

SBNC Goleta
Scott Black, director of the American Indian Health & Services Corp., honors Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics CEO Trula Breuninger, who is Native American, with a blanket during Friday's ribbon-cutting celebration of SBNC's new Goleta clinic. Black said that giving a blanket is a high honor in the Native American community. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

SBNC operates four primary care medical and two dental clinics on the South Coast, which includes its recent expansion to the 5580 Calle Real site.

With the help of a federal grant and community partners, the nonprofit organization turned a dire financial situation two years ago into a larger, more stable group of clinics.

SBNC board chair Stephen Hicks thanked those partners on Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Cottage Health, Sansum Clinic, CenCal Health, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Direct Relief, Santa Barbara Community Bank and the City of Goleta.

Cottage Health CEO Ron Werft said the expansion couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Affordable Care Act and Medi-Cal expansion giving more people access to primary care.

The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics serve all comers, and the rest of the local health-care system doesn’t have the capacity to serve that community, Werft said.

When there was the threat of SBNC closing its doors, Werft told Noozhawk that the influx of emergency room patients would force Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to set up “surge tents” in the parking lot.

“It’s very important to us that the SBNC remains strong,” Werft said.

Cottage and the clinics are partnering up to better provide a continuation of care, including pre-and-post-hospitalization care.

The clinic was recognized by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who praised the addition of behavioral health services, calling them a fundamental part of health care.  

Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said she was thrilled that the city now has a permanent primary care clinic, in an easily-accessible location with plenty of parking and bus service.

SBNC Goleta
Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics board chair Stephen Hicks thanks SBNC's community partners during Friday's event at newly opened Goleta primary care medical facility. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

In a tour of the newly opened facility, chief medical officer Dr. Charles Fenzi showed around a group including Anne and Michael Towbes, whose donations were honored with naming the reception area after them.

There are two exam rooms per doctor, so the clinic hopes to expand into the rest of the building — a former church — for more space.

Fenzi is working out of the Goleta clinic for now, and pediatrician Dr. Andria Barnes Ruth is seeing patients there as well. The temporary Patterson Avenue clinic will be closed.

SBNC board member Dr. Mary Ferris, who runs student health at UCSB, saw the clinic for the first time during Friday’s tour and said she was excited to see it finished. She issued a reminder to all prospective patients that the clinic takes all insurance plans.

Board member John Lewis said the clean, bright facility will be a “place for everybody.”

The clinic is open 8:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. It's closed on Sundays. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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