Pilot Staff Writer

The Brookings Harbor Medical Center on Fifth Street will have a new name January 1 - Chetco Medical Center.

As the new name implies, it will continue to offer health care to the Brookings-Harbor community, where many residents have complained about the dearth of healthcare choices.

The Curry Health District has officially acquired the lease of the premises from the San Diego owner of the building, Medicorps LLC. The facility will provide medical offices for a number of health care providers.

andquot;Their goal is to keep medical care access available in Brookings,andquot; said Ginni Hochberg, Chief Executive Officer of Curry General Hospital, speaking for the health district about Medicorps LLC,

Although the health district will not officially take over the building until January 1, Mark Silver, M.D., the current lease-holder and manager, has agreed to allow the new tenants to begin renovations after Dec. 20.

andquot;Dr. Silver wants to work with us,andquot; Hochberg, said. andquot;He will allow us to begin painting and recarpeting as soon as he vacates the building.andquot;

Hochberg said there will be a complete remodeling of the premises and andquot;a whole different feel.andquot; She also said all patients, including Oregon Health Plan patients, will be treated.

andquot;We don't turn any patients away,andquot; she emphasized.

Many of the current employees at the facility will be working for the new group. Bets Byrtus, who served as office manager for Brookings-Harbor Medical Clinic for the past year, has been rehired by the health district to manage the office of the new Chetco Medical Center.

Linda Zia will be available to offer diabetic and diet counseling at the facility.

Jay Patel, M.D., who maintained an office in the facility run by Dr. Silver, will remain under a sublease agreement with the health district.

Medford neurologist, Larry J. Maukonen, M.D., will see patients at the facility two or three times a month for two to three days at a time, with a schedule to begin Jan. 8 and including Jan. 13, 14, 15, 20 and 22.

Grants Pass podiatrist, Mark Simchuck, D.P.M., will also be in Brookings on a regular schedule to treat patients at the new facility.

andquot;Our goal is to find another physician and a nurse practitioner or two,andquot; Hochberg said about future plans for the Fifth Street facility. She said they are also looking for a radiologist and look forward to increasing the imaging capabilities at the Brookings facility.

The health district's Brookings Clinic on Alder Street will continue to provide medical services Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, with nurse practitioners Frances Guthridge and Marge Bismarck on duty.

Dr. Silver will relocate to his Oak Street Medical Center, where he will practice with two nurse practitioners.