SELMA – United Health Centers is building a new medical facility in Selma and plans to start seeing patients possibly by next summer.

This will be the 15th UHC health center and CEO Colleen Curtis said she’s eager to bring much-needed access to affordable health care to the community.

“We’re the safety net and we should be their first stop, not the [emergency room],” Curtis said of the outreach they conduct to reach families that may be without health insurance. “We are there to see everyone in the community regardless of what type of reimbursement they have.”

Curtis said UHC uses a sliding fee program so those with no other means of coverage can have access to medical care.

“We’ll see them for a very nominal fee and they’ll get provided the full array of services.”

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new Center was Sept. 8 at 2705 S. Highland Ave. at the dirt lot near Denny’s where the facility will be built. The occasion included the presentation of colors by Selma High School’s ROTC.

The center will be a 12,000 square-foot building that will house 17 exam rooms, 11 dental stations and three optometry exam rooms. All UHC services will be available including medical, dental, optometry, chiropractic, behavioral health and ancillary services.

“Currently, patients from Selma travel to either the UHC Fowler Health Center or the UHC Parlier Health Center to receive the quality of comprehensive medical care and customer service UHC is known for,” UHC Community and Staff Development Officer David Phillips said.

Aside from providing medical care, UHC will also offers free transportation for patients, preventive care seminars such as avoiding diabetes and smoking cessation and will conduct outreach efforts at local elementary schools.

“One of the ideas is we get out to the schools and do screenings and identify the students that need glasses or need some dental work so they can feel better, see better and do better in school,” Curtis said. “We also have nutrition counselors to help people lead healthier and happier lives.”

Patients can also look for UHC booths at community events. UHC staff has already attended a number of events in town including the Little Book Festival at Abraham Lincoln Middle School where the I CARE Bear greeted children and staff handed out informational brochures.

“We have values we’ve adopted at the centers that are represented in ‘I Care.’ That stands for integrity, compassion, advocacy, respect and excellence. The kids love the I Care Bear and now that we’ll be in Selma, we’ll be doing outreach at most of the schools.”

United Health Centers’ corporate offices are in Parlier. Their staff is proficient in English, Spanish and Punjabi and has health centers in Orange Cove, Reedley, Huron, Lemoore, Earlimart, Mendota, Kerman, Raisin City, Sanger, Fowler and Corcoran.

The centers offer such services as general and family medicine, pediatrics, general dentistry, pharmacy, clinical laboratory, X-ray, dermatology telemedicine, integrated behavioral health, chiropractic care, optometry and preventive medicine programs. Programs such as perinatal health, nutrition counseling, WIC, health education and promotion, family planning, immunizations, translation, community outreach and transportation services, maternal and child health are also available.

Curtis says UHC anticipates partnering with organizations already in town to help add to the quality of life in the community.

“Our mission outside of our four walls is to really be a partner in the community and do everything we can to enhance the lives and welfare of all the community members whether they’re a patient of ours or not.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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