The first Tampa Family Health Center location in East Hillsborough is set to open Monday on Causeway Boulevard in Clair-Mel.
The nonprofit's 11th facility will offer a plethora of services, including on-site medical, dental and pharmaceutical.
Call it a patient center home, not a walk-in clinic, says Edward Kucher, chief financial officer. Construction of the 10,000-square-foot facility took approximately six months to complete and fills a void in the area.
"It was a long process," Kucher said. "The board was very determined to do something in that area for the past four, five years."
Kucher said there are 5,000 potential patients in the 33619 ZIP code and 8,000 in the area surrounding the center.
While the new location is a convenience for local patients who no longer have to travel west to any of its Tampa locations, all the centers are connected to the same electronic system. Patient histories are available no matter where they seek medical attention, and all prescriptions and lab work are issued electronically.
Started in 1984 in Ybor City, the nonprofit formed to help underserved communities with internal medicine, pediatrics, dental, family planning, behavioral health, pharmacy and other similar services. Kucher said the centers always made primary medical care the core service.
Last year, the centers served more than 70,000 patients for just medical and dental needs spanning 206,000 office visits. In addition to the 52 dental chairs throughout the county, the centers maintain seven locations with pharmacies — which usually take an extra year to build out after centers open.
Accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, the centers offer accessibility for patients with many health plans while implementing a sliding scale for self-pay patients based on income. Kucher said the centers focus on preventing more serious health issues by offering services such as well child checkups and annual physicals.
"Our approach makes sure we are not focusing on just one issue," he said. "We address chronic disease management like diabetes and hypertension. Education is a big part of it. As much as possible, we practice preventative care."
Because this center opening is a collaboration with city and county government as well as the health department, local government officials are expected to attend the grand opening ceremonies Monday at 11 a.m.
Scheduled keynote speakers include U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, also are expected to attend.
For information about the center, 7608 Causeway Blvd., call the appointment line at (813) 397-5300.
Salt therapy clinic comes to Valrico
Susanne Murray wants you to breathe better. To do that, she has harnessed the healing powers of salt caves and ocean sprays and brought it to Valrico.
The Salt Grotto, the first salt therapy inhalation clinic in the Tampa Bay area, opened last month in the Riverhills Plaza on Lithia Pinecrest Road.
According to Murray, the health spa owner, the Salt Grotto merges ancient salt therapy benefits with modern technological advances in medicine to help promote better breathing as well as skin treatments and relaxation. Clients can expect a quiet and serene Himalayan-style salt cave environment to relax in at 4329 Lynx Paw Trail.
"Natural remedies that have been around for centuries are finding their way into our everyday lives," said Murray. "We want to be the first in our area to share salt therapy with the community."
Murray is targeting clients with allergies like hay fever, respiratory ailments like asthma, emphysema, COPD, bronchitis or even the common cold. She said the private salt therapy beds or the communal, six-chair group therapy sessions also help skin ailments like psoriasis, eczema or acne.
All ages are welcome. Adult salt therapy single sessions are $45 and last approximately 45 minutes. Children's salt therapy single sessions are $20. Group packages and multivisit packages also are available.
Visit thesaltgrotto.com for hours and information.