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Primary & urgent care facility opens on Ripons Main Street
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Ripon farmer Steve Gikas, president of GICO Farms and Golden West Nuts, was the first patient to sign in at the new urgent care and primary care facility with staffer Mika Dunlap at the window. It is located at 336 West Main Street. Gikas, along with an anonymous supporter, have been recognized as key sponsors of the 6,000-square-foot clinic. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — The Ripon Primary & Urgent Care Center opened its doors at 336 West Main Street on Thursday.

A number of Ripon agricultural, commercial and other business leaders have helped in bringing the dream of providing daytime and after-hour medical care to seniors and to those less fortunate within the community.  Businesses and Ripon families are also urged to visit the clinic.

Janine Raven-Burgess is the office manager, a graduate of UCLA.   Initially there is one physician and one physician’s assistant (P.A.) on staff.  Dr. Michael Fox, M.D.,  who otherwise practices at St. Joseph’s Hospital,  and P.A. James Simmons, serve as the initial providers at the clinic.

Simmons has lived in Ripon for over 10 years and is a graduate of USC where he played football for three years as a tight safety.

Ripon farmer Steve Gikas was the clinic’s first patient on Thursday and proud of it.  Gikas has reportedly been instrumental in sponsoring the urgent care program in the community along with a number of his peers.

Gikas and the others are reportedly getting nothing in return for their sponsorships.  However, the well known agricultural entrepreneur quipped as he told of a loose, light- hearted agreement between himself and the clinic owner.   He said the medics estimated he would live to be at least 95 – and he just wanted a guarantee of health care until he reaches that age.

Gikas said he was drawn to the clinic proposal because of what he saw as an ominous health care overhaul by the present government administration.  He said the urgent care and primary care offered by the clinic can take care of his nearly 80 employees.

Pacific Medical Group is donating $1,000 a month to underwrite the “evidence based practice” care of six families in each 30-day period that would otherwise have to forego the medical services they need from pediatrics through adults.   

The 6,000-square-foot clinic boasts eight primary care examination rooms and four urgent care rooms, six doctors’ offices, with a lab and X-ray department currently in the final development stages.  The examining rooms are each being named in honor of the community sponsors who are donating $10,000 each.

Greg and Jessica Coleman of the Color the Skies Over Ripon annual hot air balloon festival have joined in the effort to support the clinic as well with the pediatrics treatment room named in appreciation for their gifts.

Totally free monthly Saturday screening clinics are being launched at the facility throughout the year beginning in January with a blood pressure event on the calendar.  A diabetes screening clinic is set for February and breast cancer is scheduled for March. April will focus on cholesterol.

Those four medical screenings will revolve throughout the remaining months of the year at no cost to those involved.

Clinic hours beginning next week will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for primary care patients.  Urgent care needs will be medically addressed from 6 to 10 p.m.

The clinic is offering two-minute drug testing for 12 illegal drugs along with new hire physicals.

The urgent care wing has been named in the memory of a compassionate family member’s grandmother who could not turn a hungry person away from her East Palo Alto home.  There was always one more baloney sandwich being made to make a difference.

The primary wing at the clinic has been named in honor of Edgar and Josefina Reyes.