May 19, 2024

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OLE Health expands in Solano County, Napa Valley to meet growing patient need

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OLE Health, serving Napa and Solano counties, is expanding, emphasizing its effort to reach more underserved patients in the region.

“We’re really trying to do everything we can to make sure people can get in and get seen,” said CEO Alicia Hardy, who has led the health care system since 2018. “Access is probably the single biggest priority for us right now.”

OLE is based in Napa County, with campuses in south Napa and north Napa, as well as clinics in St. Helena and Calistoga.

In Solano County, OLE operates clinics in east Fairfield and west Fairfield. OLE Health is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that cares for a vulnerable segment of the community, including the uninsured, Medi-Cal families and seniors.

OLE in November took ownership of a 24,000-square-foot building located at 470 Chadbourne Road in west Fairfield, where it had been renting just a portion of the space since 2015. Hardy said OLE purchased the building for $4.1 million from CDI LLC, a New York City-based technology company.

“When we started in Solano, we were just sort of dipping our toe over the county line,” Hardy said. “Now we’re fully established as a dual-county provider and need to have regional leadership.”

It was in 2018 when OLE Health entered the east Fairfield market through a partnership with NorthBay Healthcare, as the Business Journal reported at the time. NorthBay had gifted OLE with a 2,000-square-foot space, located at 1101 B. Gale Wilson Blvd., across the street from NorthBay Medical Center.

At the time, NorthBay also provided OLE with access to its training facilities and resources. That arrangement continues, according to Steve Huddleston, vice president, public affairs, NorthBay Healthcare.

And now OLE is in the process of expanding at the NorthBay site for a second time.

In October 2020, OLE expanded from 2,000 square feet to 3,310 square feet of space, adding four exam rooms and two physicians at the site, according to Huddleston and Hardy. The second expansion will add another 2,777 square feet for three more exam rooms and one more physician.

“Our second round of renovations are in the hands of the architect currently,” Hardy said, “but hopefully in the next few months, we’ll have that up and running.”

Huddleston said the combined four-year-old effort to increase health care access to the area’s most vulnerable populations is paying off.

“With access to primary care, we are seeing a reduction in utilization of our emergency room services,” Huddleston said. “As well, when OLE Health clients require hospitalization or specialty services, they have better medical outcomes.”

Hardy credits other efforts by OLE Health that also have improved outcomes.

The health care system added a comprehensive telehealth program that it didn’t have before COVID-19, and has a June target date for rolling out a more robust mobile health program, Hardy said.

Meanwhile, back in Napa County, OLE has outgrown its Calistoga facility and is looking to build a new one, she said.

“There are some challenges with finding the exact location because there’s limited real estate up there,” Hardy said, “but we’re having some active conversations that I hope will materialize into something we can work with.”

OLE is also exploring opening an office in American Canyon, the only large city in Napa County where it doesn’t have a presence, she noted.

In addition, over the last month, OLE has filled several high-level positions that had been vacated, including a medical director, dental director, and a chief financial officer and chief operating officer, she said.

The CFO and COO positions were previously a combined role, Hardy said, but with the level of expansion OLE is undertaking, she decided to separate the two jobs.

As it happens, September will mark 50 years that OLE Health has been in business. Various celebratory events are already underway, which Hardy said she hopes will further spread the word about OLE’s health care services as it continues to grow.

“All of this is with that end goal of creating more access and bringing services to where patients need them,” Hardy said. “It looks a little bit different in each community, and we’re really trying to be adaptable and listen to the need and respond as quickly as we can.”

Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. She previously worked for a Gannett daily newspaper in New Jersey and NJBIZ, the state’s business journal. Cheryl has freelanced for business journals in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Reach her at [email protected] or 707-521-4259.

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