Newer, larger health clinic opens in Petaluma

Doctors and nurses saw their first patients Wednesday in the new, larger Petaluma Health Center on the city's northeast side.

The clinic on North McDowell Boulevard underwent major reconstruction over the past year, transforming it from an office building to a state-of-the art medical facility, complete with an expanded dental clinic and a new "healthy living" area.

Petaluma Health Center's new digs


When all phases of renovation are complete, the 53,000-square-foot center will have exam rooms and staff to serve as a "medical home" for 35,000 southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County residents, many of whom have low and moderate incomes.

"This new center will increase our capacity right away to meet the health and wellness needs of our community, to offer new innovative programs and to truly serve as a patient-centered medical home," said Kathie Powell, the center's chief executive.

The expansion is part of a wave of rapid growth taking place among the North Coast's federally qualified health centers, which are poised to play a major role in caring for the newly insured under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

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