San Mateo Medical Center plans to increase services

To serve the fastest-growing segment of San Mateo County’s population, the San Mateo Medical Center is planning expansions to almost double the number of senior patients it can serve annually.

On Tuesday, the San Mateo County Health Foundation announced it was earmarking $1.9 million for the medical center to expand the Ron Robinson Senior Care Center and improve the Fair Oaks Children’s Clinic. Medical Center spokesman Dave Hook says both projects are long overdue.

“We’re very thankful that they recognized the same needs that we’ve seen in the community, and we’re extremely grateful, the foundation is a key source of support for us,” he said.

In 2004, the senior-care center served 1,000 patients, which tripled by 2006. Even with a current patient load of approximately 3,000 people, Foundation Executive Director Lee Michelson said there is a demand for at least 5,000 total patients. The expansion will be able to meet that need once it is completed — as planned — in late 2008.

“They don’t have the space to deal with these additional 2,000 patients, and the build out will allow them to build six more exam rooms, which will give them the room to hire two more doctors to see the patients,” he said.

Although no expansions are planned for the pediatric clinic, $400,000 of the money set aside for that will upgrade the existing facilities — portable buildings — and create a more inviting atmosphere for the young patients.

Although the pediatrics side is funded, the approximately $1.5 million for the Robinson Center is only partially gathered. After $100,000 of donations at the end of 2007, $575,000 is set for the project, and Michelson said that if the foundation is unable to raise the funds for the rest of it, it will dip into its $2.5 million reserves for the rest.

The expansion of the senior facility could eventually move beyond Redwood City in coming years, with possible growth into a satellite facility somewhere near Daly City or South San Francisco. The current funding, however, does not include plans for this.

“Twenty to 25 percent of the population is coming from the north county part of the area, and in the ideal world, they would like to create a satellite center somewhere in the north county area, but we’re talking a year or two before that could happen,” Michelson said. “Eventually, if we can expand to another location in the north county, it would free up even more spots here, which is our eventual goal.”

jgoldman@examiner.com

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