Board approves contract offers

When The West Side Health Care District takes over operation of the urgent care center in Taft on July 1, you may not notice any difference.

At least that's what the district is hopting

The district is going to offer contracts to keep three of the physicians seeing patients at the clinic – Dr. Steve Washington, Dr. Burton Slanger and Dr. Burnett Rucker.

The district board on Wednesday approved contract language with all three doctors to continue to practice at the Westside Urgent Care at 101 E North St.

If the contract's are signed, it will be a major step forward for the district as it plans for the future.

Board member Teri Jordan said she would be very happy to keep the same medical staff.

"We feel its very important to keep the same level of care and the same physicians were have at the urgent care," Jordan said.

The district announced in March that it planned to end its contract with Emergency Medical Services Group and operate the clinic its self.
EMSG had provided the staffing and ran the clinic since it opened in January 2004.

Th agreement ends on June 30.
When the urgent care clinic doors open on July 1, it will be run solely by the West Side Health Care District, but with the same physicians staffing it.
The announcement of the changes in operation in March touched off a lot of concern in the community that the doctors many people visited repeatedly for treatment, would be leaving, especially Dr. Washington, the popular medical director the for the urgent care.

Now that's apparently not going to happen.

Even though no contracts have been signed, West Side Health Care District Board President Chuck Hagstrom said there have been discussions with some of the physicians.

The district is currently in the process of planning the demolition of the old West Side District Hospital, which has sat empty for nearly 10 years since Catholic Healthcare West closed it.

Eventually, the district hopes to build a new health care campus on the site.

It's most immediate plan is to construct a larger urgent care center on the hospital property.