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New health center fills ‘big hole’ in Eldorado

July 31, 2018

Family nurse practitioner Warren Goldenberg is bringing his experience in illness prevention and community mindedness to his latest venture in Eldorado.

Goldenberg, 49, last week opened his Eldorado Family Health center in La Tienda at Eldorado shopping center. As founder and medical director, he has added a registered nurse, a pediatric nurse practitioner and a mental health counselor as well as a receptionist.

Goldenberg most recently worked as a nursing instructor at Santa Fe Community College and at Southwest Care Center in Santa Fe, serving HIV and Hepatitis C patients. Before moving to Santa Fe 14 years ago, he provided medical care to the homeless on the streets of San Francisco.

“Primary care is very important,” Goldenberg said. “It’s about preventing disease and distress and keeping people well.

“I don’t think there is enough access for people in Santa Fe (or anywhere in the area) to a primary care provider,” he said.

And that seemed to be the case in Eldorado, where Goldenberg lives.

Katherine Seluja, the health center’s pediatric nurse practitioner, said the Eldorado community and the area surrounding it have been growing and that the number of health providers has lagged behind the population. Estimates of the area’s population range between 15,000 and 19,000.

Steve Ewers, owner-manager of the La Tienda complex, said several residents have told him they were leaving the community because of a lack of nearby medical services.

“Residents literally are saying there are not enough providers,” he said.

“The family health center and the opening of the Del Norte Pharmacy next door in the last few months has been a big deal for us,” Ewers added.

The only providers of any kind of health services, he said, have been a general practitioner in The Agora Shopping Center across Avenida Vista Grande from La Tienda, plus a dental office, a physical therapist, two chiropractors and two acupuncturists.

The addition of the health center and pharmacy “fills in a big hole for us,” Ewers said. “And we have not had a pediatrics specialist ever.”

Goldenberg said the medical team will provide chronic and acute illness diagnoses, chronic care management, mental health counseling (including substance-abuse issues), laboratory services, patient advocacy and education, sports physicals, pediatric care, wellness exams, referrals to specialists and general primary and preventive care.

“We are trained and independently licensed and certified to do everything that a physician does in an outpatient setting,” Seluja said. “We have master’s degrees in our nursing specialties.”

Goldenberg, however, emphasized that the center is not certified as an urgent care facility.

He and Seluja said nurse practitioners pooling their talents and resources to create a wellness center like Goldenberg’s reduces time and money spent complying with government and insurance regulations. Setting up a private medical practice is riddled with expenses and cumbersome government and insurance bureaucracies, they said.

A major reason for the failure of many startup medical-related businesses, Goldenberg and Seluja said, is failure to account for the expense and work hours that go into the “nightmare” of billing and insurance.

“One of the main things, if you talk to any health care facility and the many, many physicians who used to be in private practice in the last two decades, what brought them down was the money and business end,” Seluja said. “You can be the most amazing clinician and diagnostician in the world, but generally, most health care people are not also accountants or have MBAs.”

That also has resulted in major medical centers gobbling up the foundering small private practices, Goldenberg said.

As for the future, Goldenberg hopes to expand further into the community, offering educational programs and workshops on a medical topics ranging from diabetes awareness to early childhood development.

If you go

What: Eldorado Family Health

Where: 7 Caliente Road, Suite B1, east side of La Tienda at Eldorado

When: Same day appointments available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

For information: Call 505-216-7772 or visit www.eldoradofamilyhealth.com

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