SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District completed their first step toward the development of a full-service County health clinic on the De Anza Community College campus in Cupertino. The initial feasibility study was presented to the Board of Supervisors on September 19.
County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who serves as Chair of the County’s Health and Hospital Committee and authored the proposal to bring County health care services to the West Valley, asked that the next steps in development include approaches that reduce costs and that both the County and the District move more quickly on the project. He also asked that both parties continue exploring the potential for mental health services at the proposed clinic.
“I’m hoping we can also use this space to provide mental health care, in addition to the plethora of other health care services we’re looking to offer,” said Simitian. “We should be looking for every opportunity to give folks in our community options for accessing affordable and quality mental health care. There is clearly a shortage of such services in the West Valley.”
The County and the District are working together on the planning and construction of a building that will provide health care services to both the campus population, as well as the broader West Valley community. Services would include primary care, mental health, imaging, laboratory, and pharmacy. Additional services will also be considered based on further review and analysis. To support the College District’s health care professional programs and curriculum, the County and District would collaborate on education/internship programs within the clinic.
A draft building program for a two-story 25,000 square-foot building on the De Anz campus has been developed as part of the initial feasibility study. The first floor would include a lobby, urgent care, lab, and diagnostics, while the second floor would include dental, family medicine, and a 2,000-square-foot educational space.
Currently, there are no County or community clinics located in the West Valley. There are more than 43,000 residents in the area who receive health care coverage through Medi-Cal and more than 40,000 people who receive other public benefits who could benefit from having a County clinic close to where they live or work.
While some residents of the West Valley communities of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga have access to quality health care through established providers, there are many, said Simitian, “who fall into that ‘missing middle’ of health care. They make just a little too much to qualify for most government programs, but not enough to afford first-rate insurance or out-of-pocket health care.”
“This is a very, very exciting project, and a much-needed one to provide services not only to our students and faculty and staff, but more importantly to the residents of Santa Clara County and community surrounding De Anza College,” said Lee Lambert, Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
Simitian first introduced a proposal in October 2021 directing County administration to report to the Board with options for building a North County/West Valley primary care health clinic. In response, County administration identified options for building a primary care clinic in the northern portion of the County. In October 2022 the Board approved a long-term lease for a facility located on the Palo Alto-Mountain View border.
After assessing public interest for a clinic in the West Valley, and in April 2022, Simitian and his colleague, Supervisor Otto Lee, requested that County administration explore options to create an additional clinic in the West Valley. In follow-up to that action, and in June 2022, the County sent a Letter of Interest to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
The County’s project team will return to the Board and College District in early 2024 with the final project scope, a detailed budget estimate, and recommendations for next steps. A community engagement process is expected to begin in late 2023 and early 2024. Construction of the clinic could conceivably begin in 2025.