Mark Twain eyes new Angels clinic

By Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat April 23, 2013 12:15 pm

PUBLIC MEETING: Mark Twain Health Care District, 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Classroom No. 2 (second floor), Mark Twain Medical Center, 768 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.

A dormant plan to bring a new family medical center clinic to Angels Camp could get a shot in the arm Wednesday if Mark Twain Health Care District directors agree to a $290,000 land purchase at highways 4 and 49.

The district, which owns the Mark Twain Medical Center based in San Andreas and contracts its operations to nonprofit Dignity Health, was progressing in 2011 toward a 7,000-square-foot clinic on four acres it owns on Stanislaus Avenue.

“Anticipated supportive funding did not develop at that time,” said district CEO Damon Doss.

Traffic studies showed the district needed to install a stoplight, at an estimated cost of $125,000, to develop the Stanislaus site. Doss said the property provided less parking space than desired and also needed significant grading.

“There were multiple reasons to look somewhere else,” Doss said.

The focus is now shifted to slightly less than three acres near the city’s busiest intersection. The terrain is more suitable for building and the site is more visible, Doss said.

However, the purchase from retired Angels Camp car dealer — Richard Wilmshurst is contingent upon several complications being cleared up to the board’s satisfaction.

The property will have to be rezoned from residential with the city’s approval, a clinic entrance from nearby Dogtown Road approved by Caltrans and assurances made that neighboring underground fuel storage tanks at a Shell gas station will not complicate the project, Doss said.

A December 2012 study by Loomis consultant KD Anderson and Associates concluded the addition of the medical center will increase congestion at the intersection of Highway 49 and Dogtown Road though not to the extent it decreases its “level of service” rating in the short-term.

In the long-term, a stoplight at Dogtown Road and Highway 49 might be required in part due to the project, and an environmental review will likely need to address this, the report stated.

The clinic is slated to replace a 4,000-square-foot clinic in rented space at Angels Towne Center and a 900-square-foot imaging center near the Stelte Park neighborhood. Hospital administrators said demand for services at each location has caused them to become overly cramped.