From Our CEO

New health centers, expanding services are about better, more efficient health care – for you

Western Sierra Medical Clinic is committed to Better Health Together.

Those carefully chosen words are about a partnership between our 120-person team and you.

It’s a promise we extend to all of our patients, from day-old newborns to decades-old seniors.  

Whether you depend on a government program for health care or have private health care insurance, our focus is you. It’s been our foundation during the past 40-plus years.

And the commitment has never been stronger than today. Being able to provide accessible, closer-to-home, efficient and quality health care is critical to you – and us.

We’re constantly looking at how we can deliver better health care, improve access and provide more services.

A look at our past tells you something about our future and commitment to the region.

Western Sierra started in 1975, when community-minded volunteers led by Frank Lang, Nurse Practitioner, MICN, opened a clinic in Downieville. Under Lang's leadership for more than 35 years, the clinic provided primary care services to the community.

In 1986, Dr. Dee Dawkins founded Miners Clinic in Nevada County with a group of Board members from the community to provide first-rate health care to people in the region, with a focus on serving low-income residents and others without access to outpatient health services.

The two health centers, which shared a common goal of community-focused health care, merged in January 2010. The new, and larger organization, has expanded beyond the original mission of the founders.

As part of our far-reaching mission, Western Sierra has been expanding in recent years. Our 19,000-square-foot building in Grass Valley that opened in late 2014 was just the beginning of our fast-paced growth.

We recently opened two Auburn health centers and one in Kings Beach (Tahoe), all in Placer County, and a Penn Valley health center. Of course, the Downieville health center continues to serve residents in Sierra County.

The new centers are just part of our long-term plan and will help us meet the fast-moving changes in health care.

The longtime practice of fee-based services – where a priority is placed on the number of health care services providers deliver, such as tests and procedures – is giving way to “value-based health care.” Under value-based health care, the focus is on better care, improved health and lower costs.

Western Sierra and its providers embraced this new approach in health care several years ago, long before the catchy phrase was commonplace and more or less a government mandate.

We know health care is much more than colds, coughs and cuts. It’s about knowing our patients, from their health issues to their personal challenges. Quite often, the two go hand-in-hand.Our primary care providers want – and need -- to know you.

Our treat-the-whole person approach requires that primary care providers serve as the hub for your heath care and refer patients to other health experts, when needed. In many cases, Western Sierra can provide the necessary services, from behavioral health and nutrition counseling to obstetrics and gynecology.

Western Sierra has recently expanded its substance abuse services, introducing a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program. The new program focuses on helping those dealing with substance abuse issues, especially opioids such as prescription pain medications.

It’s just our latest effort to further meet the needs of the region. Western Sierra will continue to add services as part of our never-ending commitment to accessible, efficient and quality health care.   

And please don’t forget that Better Health Together is a valued partnership between Western Sierra and you.

ScottMcFarland.jpgScott McFarland
Chief Executive Officer