Silicon Valley health clinic planned at DeAnza College
A new De Anza West Valley medical clinic is set to be part of the community college campus. Photo by Julia Forrest.

Santa Clara County officials are inching closer to creating a new health clinic in the West Valley that will help underserved community members and offer college students a lens into the field of medicine.

The Board of Supervisors is currently in discussion with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District to establish a neighborhood clinic, the first of its kind in the area, Supervisor Joe Simitian said. The draft of the facility outlines a 25,000-square-foot, two-story building that will house both emergency and family care services for nearby residents, while allowing students to engage in educational opportunities in the clinic.

Simitian said the clinic will be able to offer health care services to college students and West Valley residents while providing students with medical field exposure. Simitian, who represents District 5—Saratoga, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Monte Sereno and a part of Almaden Valley—said the health facility helps serve the portions of his district that lack a neighborhood clinic.

“It has the potential to be a win, win, win,” Simitian told San José Spotlight. “It’s an exciting possibility.”

The clinic is a part of the Santa Clara Valley Healthcare system and will be open to everyone, but primarily serve those on Medi-Cal.  Simitian’s office said there are about 43,000 residents in the area as of 2022 who receive health care coverage via Medi-Cal and more than 40,000 people who receive public benefits, which would allow them to benefit from a county clinic nearby.

The initial plans for the clinic include an urgent care, specimen lab, pharmacy, imaging, dental and family medicine departments. An educational space on the second floor of the building for students is also under consideration.

While there is not an official price tag on the project, it is estimated the price per square foot would be from $1,100 to $1,300, which for a 25,000-square-foot building would cost between $27.5 million to $32.5 million. A specific campus location for the clinic is yet to be determined.

Simitian said this project will build off progress made to get another neighborhood clinic opened in the northern part of his district, on the border between Palo Alto and Mountain View. That clinic is renovating an existing building and is set to open in 2025, Simitian said.

Supervisor Otto Lee said while there are still details to work out, the project will help fill a local need.

“Every clinic (that) provides service to help the underserved communities, certainly is a big win for us,” Lee told San José Spotlight. “This is definitely a huge win for the county in so many ways.”

The educational component comes at a time when Santa Clara County is experiencing a severe shortage of health care workers. The vacancies have been an ongoing county problem for years. Mental health professionals in various county agencies and health care workers at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (VMC)—which is run by the county—have said dwindling staffing levels result in longer patients wait times in the emergency department. A 2022 survey found about 69% of VMC doctors employed by county are planning to leave their positions within the next three years.

Lee Lambert, chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District, said the clinic will provide hands-on opportunities for future health care programs.

“By having a health health clinic right on site, I think that it opens up many different options that aren’t currently available, in a convenient and more accessible way,” Lambert told San José Spotlight.

Marisa Spatafore, vice president of communications and external relations at De Anza College, said a feasibility study and updated work plan will be reviewed by the college and board of supervisors in coming months.

“Discussions are underway about the proposal and will continue into the fall when college governance groups can be engaged in the process,” Spatafore told San José Spotlight.

Contact Julia Forrest at [email protected] or follow @juliaforrest35 on Twitter.

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