Community Health Center grows in Edmonds

  • Wed Sep 26th, 2012 11:08am

By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer

EDMONDS — The nonprofit Community Health Center of Snohomish County announced plans in June to build a two-story, $13 million medical clinic in Edmonds to serve about 11,000 patients a year.

In addition to basic medical care, it will offer dental care, house a pharmacy and provide limited child care.

The new clinic will replace its current temporary offices next to Swedish/Edmonds hospital, which opened last fall.

Community Health Center provides basic medical services on a sliding scale to low-income children and adults who do not have health insurance.

There are an estimated 14,000 people in south Snohomish County who do not have access to basic health care.

The 22,556-square-foot building, with 20 medical exam rooms, will be built at 23300 Highway 99.

Although the organization has planned for years to build a new clinic in Edmonds, the effort got a boost last month with the announcement of a $5 million federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The project is expected to go out to bid during the first quarter of 2013. Construction could take up to 15 months. That means it could open in 2014, said Bob Farrell, the health center’s chief executive.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a real boon to the community,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We know that access to primary care is really difficult throughout Snohomish County.”

In addition to providing basic health care to low-income children and adults who now aren’t able to afford medical care, the construction project will put people to work, Goldbaum said. “I think this is terrific.”

The clinic will have five dentists who will be able to book about 2,500 appointments a year, Farrell said. The organization is looking for grants to help provide dental care to adults.

“It’s one of our biggest needs at this time,” he said. “There’s no access to adult dental care right now for lower income people or the uninsured.”

The organization’s other dental clinics in downtown Everett, south Everett and Lynnwood, serve 18,582 patients, most of whom are children.

The Edmonds clinic also plans to have a small day-care center that can provide child care while parents get medical treatment at the clinic, and care for sick children so a parent can go to work.

Finding child care is a barrier that prevents many women from getting medical care, Farrell said.

Parents, particularly low-income women, also need a place that can care for sick children so they can go to work, he said.

“We won’t be able to serve a lot of people, but hopefully, we can make a dent,” Farrell said.

The nonprofit organization currently has clinics in downtown Everett, south Everett, Lynnwood and Edmonds, serving 31,298 medical patients, according to LuAnne Kay, spokeswoman.

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