Ken Carlson

County Pulse: Access a concern for disabled in Stanislaus County and patients in Turlock

An announcement of the closure of the Turlock Emanuel Family Practice facility is seen on Friday, April 3, 2015. Emanuel Medical Center will close an orthopedic clinic at 2121 Colorado Ave. in Turlock on April 8, 2016.
An announcement of the closure of the Turlock Emanuel Family Practice facility is seen on Friday, April 3, 2015. Emanuel Medical Center will close an orthopedic clinic at 2121 Colorado Ave. in Turlock on April 8, 2016. Modesto Bee file

A consultant will undertake a massive evaluation of Stanislaus County’s government services and facilities to see whether there are barriers to the disabled.

The county has hired Sally Swanson Architects of San Francisco to conduct the $800,000 evaluation.

The Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan is a requirement of agencies that receive public dollars for transportation. The California Department of Transportation keeps tabs on whether local agencies are making progress on compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Four years ago, Caltrans found that Stanislaus had not done the self-evaluation.

The upcoming review will include 160 county buildings totaling more than 200 million square feet; 29 parks; 225 bridges; 130 bus stops; sidewalks; fishing accesses; and unincorporated roads and intersections.

Swanson Architects will prepare a detailed report on barriers to the disabled, identify problems that need immediate attention and recommend a plan for making other corrections over time.

After looking at evaluations done by other counties, local officials expect that many barriers will be identified, requiring thousands of corrections.


TURLOCK CLINIC WILL CLOSE: Emanuel Medical Center will close an orthopedic clinic at 2121 Colorado Ave. in Turlock. The reason is sounding familiar to Turlock residents: The orthopedic surgeon who has treated patients at the clinic is leaving and a new surgeon has not been found.

The clinic doors will close April 8.

According to a statement from Emanuel, Dr. Peter Rinaldi is leaving the practice and relocating.

Emanuel notified Stanislaus County officials and the state Department of Public Health Fresno District Office in letters earlier this month. Notices about the closure were sent to patients of the orthopedic clinic. The letters included a list of other orthopedic specialists in Turlock and information on getting copies of medical records.

According to the list, none of the other specialists accept patients in the Medi-Cal program for the poor.

The hospital said it is committed to working with government agencies and regulators “to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of care for residents in the greater Turlock region.” The hospital did not say how many patients are affected.

Citing a national shortage of primary care physicians, Emanuel closed two family practice clinics, in Turlock and Patterson, last May. About 3,800 patients were forced to find other health care providers. Most of them were Medicare and Medi-Cal patients who typically have limited access to health care.

Emanuel, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., said last year it was unable to replace doctors as turnover occurred at the family practice clinics.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321

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