It won’t start seeing patients until Wednesday, but Cippy Seidler, manager of scheduling for the new Banner Health Center in Maricopa, said the health-care provider has nearly 200 appointments already scheduled.
“I was surprised,” she said. “That surpassed our goal (for pre appointments).”
Seidler and two of her staff members were at their desks in the lobby Saturday ready to take appointments from community members attending the ribbon cutting and tour of the new health-care facility on Porter Road near Walmart.
Beginning Wednesday, the center will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Banner CEO Jim Brannon said the center will be responsive to the scheduling needs of the community, which has a lot of young families and commuters.
If your child wakes up in the morning with a fever, you can make an appointment for the same day,” he said.Seidler said the scheduling staff starts at 6 a.m., an hour before the center opens, and there will always be slots of time kept open for same-day appointments.
The 41,000-square-foot facility has six staff physicians who practice family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and women’s health. There are 36 exam rooms, and basic imaging and laboratory services onsite.
Four of the six doctors live in Maricopa, along with nearly all of the staff, Banner officials said.
The building is divided into two pods with identical examination rooms and offices, one for children and one for adults. As Maricopa’s population grows, the health center can be expanded to 80,000 square feet and be staffed with up to 40 physicians, Banner officials said.
Brannon said it was “just a short time ago when we all gathered on a warm July day” for the groundbreaking. He praised the city’s leadership, who he said made the center possible with its forward thinking.
Mayor Anthony Smith cut the ribbon for the new building.
Smith said Maricopa has several projects that soon will come into fruition. He noted the nearby entertainment center on the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the new Central Arizona College campus set to offer classes in January.
For a community to be truly sustainable, though, Smith said it must have health care.
Smith said what most impressed him about Banner, which operates health-care facilities throughout the Valley, is that the company built the Maricopa center to be “distinctly Maricopan.”
For the city’s young families, Banner will provide pediatrics and OB/GYN, Smith said, and to care for the older population, cardiology and orthopedic services will be available.
Danielle Casey, assistant city manager, said city and Banner officials began discussions in 2006. Then in 2010, all the planning came together, she said.
“I’m thrilled for the community,” she said. “Banner has done an amazing job.”
SmithGroup was the architect and DPR Construction the general contractor on the $15-million project.
For the opening ceremony, Banner set up a large tent with evaporative coolers for the 200 or so people who attended.
Hot dogs, chips, bottled water and sodas were provided along with such free handouts as such sun screen and first-aid kits.
Children drew book marks for moms for Mother’s Day while Banner employees manned booths with information about the services in Maricopa and such other Banner facilities in the Valley as MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Banner Desert Medical Center, which delivers babies.
At one table sat Rancho El Dorado residents Bev Rose and Roz Bencivenga, who said they both may become Banner patients when the center opens.
Bencivenga said she used to drive to a Banner facility in Mesa, but has stopped because of the distance. She plans to check out the Maricopa center because, “Banner has always treated me well.”
Rose, who has never been a Banner patient, said, “As you get older you want facilities that are closer to you.”
Rose said she will become a Banner patient in Maricopa if the doctors meet her needs.