Health center gears up to provide service to Norco

Will use mobile unit, temporary building until new center is built

Medical care will roll into Norco on July 6, with a mobile unit providing pediatric and primary adult care services until a modular building is ready in August.

But while both the mobile unit and modular building will offer the area a temporary health care option, the St. Charles Community Health Center has already finished the plan on a new Norco health clinic that will offer more services than the West Bank clinic in Luling.

The nonprofit health center has been trying to build a new clinic on the East Bank for years, and applied for a grant in 2007 that was ultimately denied. However, thanks to a U.S. Health Resources and Services program that received additional funding this year, the center was one of six in the state that received grant money.

That grant, which will offer $1.3 million in operating money over the next two years, was just what the health center needed to get started.

“Right now, the plan has been developed and the property on River Road has been donated,”  Community Outreach Coordinator Julia Bodden said. “We are in the phase now where we are trying to get all the capital we need to complete construction.

“We don’t want to owe any money on the property.”

The health center is not only relying on grants to cover the construction cost, but has also received money from private donations and industry.

Bodden declined to comment on the Norco center’s overall cost.

When the center is completed, it will offer primary care, OB/GYN, pediatrics, dental services and podiatry. While those services are also offered at the Luling clinic, the Norco clinic, which will exceed 15,000-square-feet, will have an adult day care center and might also offer occupational medicine.

“Since there are so many plants in the area,” Bodden said.

Until the new clinic is completed, the community health center must begin providing services to the Norco area in July, which is why the mobile unit will be set up at the intersection of St. Charles Street and First Street. When the unit opens, there will be two health care providers, along with nurses and other staff members, on hand to provide pediatric and primary adult care. When the modular building is completed in August, it will offer the same services, but may also provide specific care for women, infants and children.

The St. Charles Community Health Center was formed as a federally qualified health center in 2002. Currently, patients pay on a sliding scale based on income and the amount of insurance they have.


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