A five-story building sitting on the other side of the parking structure from Red Hawk Casino is often overlooked by the general public. Many that do see the building and read the sign declaring what it is have a misconception of who the building serves.
The Shingle Springs Health and Wellness Clinic is “owned and operated by the tribe,” said Kasey Lonbaken, a Registered Nurse and the clinic’s outreach director, referring to the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, “but we don’t just take Native Americans. People are more than welcome to come, the public needs to know that.”
The clinic offers medical, dental and behavioral health programs, from orthodontics to podiatry, classes on marriage and family health to diabetes.
The name is “more generic” because it “confused people” into thinking the services were only for the tribe, said Brenda Adams, tribal member and director of human resources. Anyone is welcome, she said, and they are flexible in payment. “The only insurance we don’t take are the HMOs or Kaiser.”
Patients can also pay in cash on a sliding pay scale, Lonbaken said. They aim to help those with “low income” or who have Medi-Cal or CMSP insurance.
“It’s extremely difficult to find providers that take Medi-Cal or CMSP,” Lonbaker said. “There’s not another dental provider in the county, and only two other medical, and one is at capacity.”
The clinic originated on Mother Lode Drive in 1995, but was upgraded and moved to the new location on Oct. 3, 2011, said David Murray, Miwok tribal member and facility director. Since then, both clinics have seen a total of about 15,000 patients, Lonbaken said.
The two medical doctors and their three assistants see between 80 and 90 people in the 17 exam rooms and two procedure rooms on an average day, Lonbaken said. The fifth floor, dedicated to medical care, also has a physical therapist and a chiropractor.
Both the medical and dental floors have state-of-the-art equipment, something Murray was proud of. “We still have stuff to do, a whole lot of work,” he said,”but every (dental) station has an x-ray machine.” He also pointed out that each of the stations feature a TV for patients. These, combined with the new panoramic x-ray machine, make the dental floor the staff’s “pride and joy,” Murray said.
Dr. Phoenix Sinclair, head of the dental program, said that “dental health is essential, integral to overall health. People don’t really appreciate it.” He said that dental health can affect respiratory and cardiovascular systems and those with diabetes. To that end, he said, the clinic offers “full service, full spectrum dental care,” from “performing root canals and orthodontics to cleaning.”
The third floor is devoted to behavioral health, with a psychiatrist, marriage and family therapist and a psychologist, said Lonbaken. It offers classes including anger management, parenting and wellbriaty, a type of Native American sobriety class, she said.
One of the main focuses of the clinic is diabetes, said Marlene Rubio-Damian, a physician and the clinic’s diabetes coordinator. “We offer one-on-one education and group education to facilitate healthcare” of the disease, she said, which allows those affected to “keep appointments, understand the disease and prevent end-stage complications.”
Diabetes affects Native Americans more than caucasians, Lonbaker said. The education of diabetes also helps with “barriers,” Rubio-Damian said, “self, education and insurance barriers.” In that way, they help those affected “before they end up hospitalized,” Lonbaker said. To that end, the clinic will have a booth focusing on diabetes at the tribe’s Big Time on Aug. 25 and 26.
The final touches of the clinic include a board room meant for conferences on health and a classroom with a kitchen. Although currently set up for a class on diabetes, Lonbaken and Rubio-Damian said they are hoping to add a dietitian to the staff for healthy cooking classes.
The overall goal of the clinic, Adams said, is to give a place where the “underserved” can go for healthcare. She said that most people who don’t have the right insurance “are staying home. They are not very welcome in other (healthcare facilities),” she said. “Come see us. We’ll take care of their health.” She said the clinic is there to “keep people from getting diseases, to be proactive.” In the end, she said, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the people.”
The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and can be contacted at (530) 387-4975.
Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or email@example.com. Follow @CMayerMtDemo.