Nonprofit health clinic to open in Arlington

A new nonprofit clinic providing medical, dental and counseling services to uninsured and low-income children and adults is scheduled to open this summer in Arlington.

It’s expected to serve 2,400 patients in its first year, many of whom haven’t been able to get regular health services. This includes adult children who are 26 or older, too old to be insured through their parents’ health plan.

The 10,458-square-foot clinic will be the newest branch of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County. It’s scheduled to open in August in an existing building at 326 S. Stillaguamish Ave., next to Cascade Valley Hospital.

The clinic is open to anyone but targets people who don’t have health insurance or are Medicaid patients.

In the Arlington ZIP code alone, there are an estimated 6,000 adults and children who don’t have regular medical care, said LuAnne Kay, a spokeswoman for the health center.

Without health insurance, it’s difficult to get medical care. So the clinic is expected to draw patients from throughout north Snohomish County, including Darrington, Stanwood, Silvana and Granite Falls.

The closest nonprofit clinic is Sea Mar’s Marysville office, which offers services on a sliding fee scale.

Volunteers staff Safe Harbor Free Clinic in Stanwood, offering medical services on Friday afternoons.

Overall, about $2.4 million is being spent on the new Arlington clinic, said Bob Farrell, chief executive of Community Health Center of Snohomish County.

The building, which opened in the early 1970s, was bought for $1.2 million. Extensive renovations are planned, including a new roof, new heating and air conditioning systems and new plumbing for the dental services, which will be housed on the first floor. These upgrades are expected to cost another $1.2 million, he said.

Dental services will be offered to both children and adults. “There is a huge need for adult dental services in Arlington and that surrounding area,” Farrell said.

The medical services available at the clinic will include; family medicine, internal medicine, chronic disease management, diabetes care, immunizations, well child checks, counseling services, a laboratory and a pharmacy for its patients.

The clinic will have about 25 employees, including two physicians, two full- and one part-time dentist and support staff.

“We’re really looking forward to having the Community Health Center clinic here,” said Clark Jones, Cascade Valley Hospital’s chief executive.

Although the hospital’s clinics have recently increased its primary care services, “that doesn’t really help people who have no insurance at all,” Jones said.

The new nonprofit clinic can provide an alternative for uninsured children and adults who need medical care but don’t have health insurance, many of whom now go to emergency room for treatment.

About 3,900 of the 20,000 patients treated last year in Cascade Valley’s emergency room were uninsured, Jones said. The hospital spent $7.2 million to pay for health care costs of uninsured patients and those who could only pay a portion of their medical bills, Jones said.

Community Health Center currently has clinics in Everett, Lynnwood, and Edmonds serving more than 37,000 patients. Services are provided on a sliding fee scale. No one is turned away due to inability to pay.

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

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