Test Landing a Success at New Emergency Helicopter Landing Spot in Cave Junction

January 30, 2015

mercyflights_KurtBy Shaun Hall
of the Daily Courier
CAVE JUNCTION — Finishing touches are being put on the newly expanded Siskiyou Community Health Center.
Parking lot and landscaping work was underway this week, and a Mercy Flights helicopter touched down as part of a test flight Thursday at a new landing pad outside the health center at 25647 Redwood Highway.

The clinic itself has doubled in size, to 20,000 square feet, with new features including a pharmacy, dental area and medical exam rooms. Also new is a community meeting room, offices for mental health workers and an outreach center serving parents and their children.

The work is being done with the help of a $3.5 million federal grant. “We’re fulfilling a need,” said Kurt Higuera, chief executive officer of Siskiyou Community Health Center, founded in 1973 originally as the Takilma Peoples Clinic. “That’s what we’re all about.” The dental clinic will be of particular help, because the community’s two other dentists are not taking new patients, Higuera said. Dental services are not yet available, though, as equipment has yet to arrive and a dentist has yet to be hired. The pharmacy opened earlier this month, serving clinic patients.

Grant money and a Mercy Flights donation helped pay for the new helicopter pad, which can help whisk patients away in an emergency. The clinic is the closet thing Cave Junction has to a hospital, and some people show up there in need of emergency care, according to Chief Operations Officer Richard Booth. “They think we’re the emergency room,” Booth said. “We’re not.”

A new outreach building on the campus houses Project Baby Check and Healthy Start, providing services for parents and children, from conception to kindergarten. The programs provide parenting, nutrition and fitness classes, plus play groups, transportation assistance and educational materials.

The clinic provides care to people of all means, including those with or without insurance. Fees are charged according to income. The clinic also offers school-based health centers at Cave Junction schools. Asante uses a part of the facility for lab and radiology services. Siskiyou Community Health Center also operates medical facilities in Grants Pass, in addition to the clinic in Cave Junction.

To reach the clinic, call 541-472-4777.