The Carondelet Health Network is planning to build a multimillion-dollar primary care clinic in Sahuarita.
The nonprofit health network will team up with developers from the Rancho Sahuarita Co. to develop the clinic, officials say. They estimate the cost at $12 million to $16 million.
The first phase of the project is expected to be complete in 2014. The clinic, which officials are calling a "health and wellness pavilion," will be on 21 acres Carondelet already owns just south of Sahuarita Road along Desert Gem Lane, which is part of the town center area of the town of Sahuarita.
The property had once been slated for a hospital, but Carondelet scrapped that plan in the recession.
The Carondelet Medical Group already operates an outpatient walk-in clinic with extended hours in Sahuarita. That clinic is at the Rancho Sahuarita Marketplace and Village in the Fry's Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Interstate 19 and Sahuarita Road.
The new facility will be more comprehensive with an emphasis on primary care, and will allow Carondelet to more than double the number of primary care physicians currently serving the Sahuarita area, officials say.
According to Carondelet, the clinic in Sahuarita will initially offer primary care to all ages, outpatient medical services and will serve as a satellite location for specialists, including cardiovascular and neurology specialists from Carondelet's hospitals.
Carondelet operates three Southern Arizona hospitals - Carondelet St. Mary's and Carondelet St. Joseph's in Tucson and Carondelet Holy Cross in Nogales.
Once the first phase is complete, officials say they will begin phase two based on input from the community. Among services under evaluation are the addition of outpatient rehabilitation, a lab, imaging and emergency care.
Carondelet officials say they decided to build a new clinic instead of a hospital because of a need for more comprehensive preventive care, more primary care physicians and other outpatient services.
"People prefer outpatient care. It is beneficial to patients because it allows them to recuperate in their own homes," Carondelet spokeswoman Lisa Contreras said. "Most importantly for us is the fact that studies point to strong primary care physician relationships increasing the health and wellness of people."
Officials on Wednesday said they have not decided whether the new facility will be nonprofit or for-profit.
Sahuarita is about 15 miles south of Tucson. The town still does not have a hospital, but Tucson Medical Center recently announced plans to build one to serve the Green Valley and Sahuarita area.
That new for-profit hospital is slated to be built with developers from McDowell Enterprises in Scottsdale on 22 acres east of Interstate 19 by the Canoa Ranch exit. Its projected completion date is 2014.
Contact medical reporter Stephanie Innes at email@example.com or 573-4134.