Monday, March 28, 2011 | 2:21 p.m.
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By the end of the year, West Las Vegas will be home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center and Administrative Offices, a new project from Nevada Health Centers that broke ground Monday. The facility will provide reduced-rate services to the uninsured.
Mayor Oscar Goodman joined Nevada Health Centers CEO Thomas Chase and other officials as they drove their shovels into the barren ground at the corner of Mount Mariah Drive and Stella Lake Street at a Monday ceremony. A bulldozer sat in the background, ready to pick up the slack. The center is expected to open in December.
“This is a very special moment for Las Vegas, this neighborhood and this community,” Goodman said. “This will meet so many needs that we have at this time by servicing a community that needs to be serviced, with no hesitation for those who have no insurance, treating everyone equally.”
It will be the nonprofit’s fourth community health center in Clark County. The Martin Luther King Jr. facility will feature a family practice, pediatric care and obstetrics/gynecological services in the 33,000-square-foot building, said future chief medical officer Dr. Darren Rahaman.
“What we’re trying to do is create a health care home, where you have all these services under one roof,” said Rahaman, who has practiced for 11 years in Las Vegas with Nevada Health Centers. “It’s been really tough for people in the last couple of years. We’re really excited about it.”
The top floor will also house offices for the group’s Las Vegas administrative staff. Its other operations include the Eastern Family Medical & Dental Center, North Las Vegas Family Health Center and the Martin Luther King Family Health Center.
The center will cater to low-income residents by providing a sliding fee scale for uninsured patients, Rahaman said, as well as accepting most private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and Nevada Check Up.
Nevada Health Centers serves about 50,000 people annually at its 20 locations throughout the state, said Shirley Hampton, the chief development officer.
Construction, which will be completed by SR Construction based on a design by Ben Girardan, an architect with 10 Nine Design, should cost about $14 million, Hampton said. About half of that will be funded by a grant from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; the rest will be paid for through a combination of the group’s own cash and fundraising efforts over the rest of the year.
Representatives from U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign voiced their appreciation for the new center’s construction. Marilyn Willis, a member of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s staff, presented a Certificate of Appreciation and noted, “the access issue has become more important as people have lost their jobs, their homes and their incomes.”
In addition to offering affordable healthcare, the Martin Luther Jr. King center will provide new job opportunities for Las Vegas. The center should employ between 80 and 90 people at full staffing, said Bob Bravetti, director of human resources.
Some will be transplants from the group’s other facilities, he said, but Nevada Health Centers is also planning to hold job fairs in September and November to fill medical and administrative positions.
Those interested in donating to the center’s construction costs can contact Hampton at 775-887-6619. For more information about the upcoming job fairs, call 702-307-5414, ext. 1352.