Rural clinic welcomes new patients


REDDING, Calif. - A clinic in eastern Shasta County is welcoming new patients.

Hill Country Health and Wellness Center in Round Mountain said they're even taking Medi-C+aal patients.

Many clinics in Shasta County, including the Shasta Community Health Center, are closing their doors to the influx of new adult patients insured under the Affordable Care Act because of a lack of health care providers to service them.

Hill Country Health and Wellness CEO Lynn Dorroh said their clinic is in a very different position. They are able to serve up to another 500 patients.

"We built this large facility a few years ago," Dorroh said. "So we actually have some room."

The drive to Round Mountain from Redding can take anywhere from half-an-hour to 45 minutes. Still, many choose to make the drive. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of the 4,000 Hill Country patients are not from the nearby area.

Caroline Luke of Redding, a patient at the clinic, recently made the trip for some dental work.

"We have great providers up here," Luke said. "And it's difficult sometimes to get in to [see] a doctor down there."

Dental Director Chris Nelson could definitely be called a great provider. Not only does he do good dental work, he keeps his patients entertained by juggling knives.

Nelson also lives in Redding, and said that if a patient has a vehicle and can afford the gas money, the drive isn't that big of a deal.

"The commute is not a factor for most of our patients," Nelson said. "Usually for the first visit it's a factor, but once they've come here and enjoyed our services and the care we provide, they usually stay and we never talk about the commute again."

Hill Country is set to hire two more part time physicians and a full-time dentist.