New Edmonds clinic targets low-income, those without insurance

EDMONDS — Dental exam rooms filled with natural light. A gentle waterfall fed with water from the building’s roof. And pavement and sidewalks that allow water to filter through rather than run over them.

These are some of the environmental design features of a new $10.5 million building opening Monday morning by the nonprofit Community Health Center of Snohomish County.

It’s expected to treat 5,600 medical patients and 2,300 dental patients in its first year, said Bob Farrell, the nonprofit’s chief executive. Both medical and dental services are available to children and adults.

The need for additional dental services has been especially acute, Farrell said. The organization is often booked months in advance for appointments. “We’re hoping this provides some relief,” he said.

The clinic helps fill a need for basic medical services, said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “I don’t believe we have enough primary care providers in the community, and in particular to serve the newly insured and those who remained uninsured,” he said.

The Edmonds clinic is the latest medical facility opened by the nonprofit Community Health Center of Snohomish County, which was founded in 1983. The organization provides medical and dental services to anyone but targets low-income patients and those without health insurance. It has clinics in Arlington, Lynnwood and two in Everett, treating 37,000 patients.

The new 25,000-square-foot building at 23320 Highway 99 in Edmonds has 22 medical exam rooms, 10 dental treatment areas and an on-site pharmacy.

It replaces the temporary quarters the organization opened adjacent to Swedish/Edmonds hospital in 2011. That clinic treated about 3,500 patients a year, so the opening of the new, larger quarters in Edmonds is a welcome change, said Dr. Andrew Perry, the clinical director of the Edmonds medical clinic.

The clinic’s location, just off Highway 99, will make it easier to find for people who previously felt there wasn’t a doctor who would see patients who were uninsured, or who recently got health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, he said.

The clinic’s on-site pharmacy can provide discounted medications for people who don’t have health insurance. Its medical staff includes internal medicine specialists, pediatric and family practice doctors. The clinic hopes to add obstetrics, or pregnancy and baby delivery services.

“We know there are lots of people out there who need our services,” Perry said. “We’re trying to get the word out as broadly as possible for people who might need us to let them know that there is affordable health care, even if you don’t have insurance.” The clinic provides medical and dental services to the uninsured on a sliding fee, based on household income.

The building was designed to have a lot of natural light and still be energy efficient, said Rebecca Cook, an architect with Miller Hayashi Architects in Seattle.

The building’s energy efficiencies are expected to cut energy costs by 31 percent, she said. It has received a gold, or second-highest ranking, for energy efficiency from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Rainwater that soaks through the site’s sidewalks and parking lots is collected in large underground vaults that filter and slowly release it. These and other steps are expected to reduce runoff by approximately 70 percent, Cook said.

“We’re right up the hill from Lake Ballinger,” she said. “A lot of care was taken to get that right.”

Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling said the clinic is an important addition to the community not only for the quality of services, but also because it’s aesthetically pleasing.

“It gives us more and better access for the citizens of Edmonds and the surrounding area,” he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Appointments

The nonprofit Community Health Center of Snohomish County’s Edmonds clinic, which is scheduled to open for appointments Monday morning, provides medical and dental services. Services are available to patients who have Apple Health, Medicaid, Medicare, most private insurance plans and to the uninsured. The building is at 23320 Highway 99 in Edmonds. Call 425-640-5500 for medical appointments and 425-640-5533 for dental appointments.

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