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New UNM North Valley clinic to serve 2K patients

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University of New Mexico Hospitals is scheduled to break ground Tuesday on the new North Valley Center for Family and Community Health at 3401 Fourth NW. (Courtesy of University of New Mexico Hospitals)

University of New Mexico Hospitals is scheduled to break ground Tuesday on the new North Valley Center for Family and Community Health at 3401 Fourth NW. (Courtesy of University of New Mexico Hospitals)

University of New Mexico Hospitals will break ground next week on a new $4.9 million outpatient clinic to help meet growing demand for medical services in Albuquerque’s North Valley.

The North Valley Center for Family and Community Health is expected to open next spring at 3401 Fourth NW. It will house a wide range of health care services, including primary care, pediatric care and women’s health services for close to 2,000 patients.

The clinic will be one of the UNM Health System’s biggest, with 22 examination rooms, a radiology suite, a pharmacy and a laboratory. It also will be a venue for health education classes and behavioral health counseling, and will serve patients who need home care, hospice, transportation and financial aid counseling.

Gov. Susana Martinez and Bernalillo County Commission Chairwoman Debbie O’Malley are expected to join hospital administrators, health care providers and members of the community at a groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

UNM Hospitals planned the facility with the help of the community, which provided comment at a series of public meetings, said UNM Health System CEO Steve McKernan. The community weighed in on a range of issues related to the clinic, from health care services to landscaping and the design of the facility, which will include space for community meetings.

“This is a multi-generational community,” McKernan said. “There are at lot of children living in the area, a lot of seniors raising their grandchildren. We wanted the clinic’s design to recognize their needs.”

Kori Beech, interim administrator for ambulatory services at UNM Hospitals, agreed that medical needs in the North Valley are considerable.

“We want it to be a positive presence in the neighborhood and a positive experience for patients, and we are glad we have the community’s support for this,” she said.

Up to 20 providers will practice at the clinic, and UNM estimates it will serve between 1,500 and 1,800 patients per month as all offerings come online. By consolidating services, the center can better coordinate patient care, Beech said.

“We wanted to make it convenient for our patients,” she said. “For example, physicians will be able to send prescriptions to the on-site pharmacy electronically.”

The center will be built on the former site of Larry’s Drive-In, a restaurant that operated from 1962 to 2003. Pictures and d├ęcor in the new building will recognize that history. Project architects are FBT Architects, and the general contractor is Richardson and Richardson Construction, both Albuquerque-based firms.

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