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Golden Valley takes over health center
• Non-profit agency takes over for the county
Golden Valley Center Ceres
Chamber, city and county officials mixed with Golden Valley Health Center official to officially cut the ribbon to services at 3109 Whitmore Avenue on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

A ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches marked the grand opening of Golden Valley Health Center’s third facility in Ceres yesterday, 18 months after the county government began making changes to its health care delivery.

“This is an exciting day for us at Golden Valley,” said the chairman of GV’s board John Price. “For us it’s really about the patients … it’s about access to care and making sure we have the ability to see as many patients as need to be seen.”

Stanislaus County Health Services Agency (HSA) operated the Ceres Medical Clinic at 3109 Whitmore Avenue until December but spent 18 months working with Golden Valley Health Centers (GVHC) to take over the facility.

Golden Valley is a non-profit organization designated as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). It already operates two sites in Ceres. They are located at 1920 Memorial Drive and at 2760 Third Street. The Memorial Drive site also offers dental services.

Last July 2019 the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors ordered the closure of medical clinics it operates in Ceres, Hughson and Turlock.  Declining patient volume and growing costs were factors in the decision for the closure. Taking over the county clinic in Hughson will be Livingston Community Health (LCH).

The center underwent minor renovations and boasts 14 patient exam rooms, 12 staff members and four doctors. Currently services include medical, chiropractic, pediatric and OB/GYN services. Plans are to include behavioral health care.

Golden Valley’s CEO Tony Weber said his organization has 42 locations in three counties serving nearly 150,000 patients. Next year’s budget figures on 650,000 office visits.

“It just demonstrates the need that there continues to be in our communities for quality care,” said Weber. “And I’d like to think that Golden Valley is one of those providers who provides high quality care and obviously to any patient who walks through our doors regardless of the ability to pay.”

Since 1972, GVHC has provided an estimated 8 million office visits in the Central Valley.

 “Golden Valley fills the need for medical care in this county,” said Supervisor Jim DeMartini who was present at Tuesday’s noon ceremony. “This is really a first class organization. I really don’t know what we’d do without them.”

Other factors pushing the county to close the clinics was the state diverted funding for the medically indigent programs to other state programs. The county has also had difficulty in attracting and keeping doctors for the clinics.

Patty Hill-Thomas, the county Assistant Chief Executive Officer, said the county was part of building the facility and said “it is so wonderful to see a continued presence in Ceres.”

Councilman Channce Condit said the center "will offer incredible services for our residents."

The center is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but closed for lunch between 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. It may be reached at (866) 682-4842.

Tony Weber
Golden Valley Health Centers CEO Tony Weber addressed the crowd at the Whitmore Avenue clinic ribbon cutting event. - photo by Jeff Benziger