With possible boost from the ‘Big Blue Wall,’ Country Doctor digs in on new Capitol Hill facility

The “Big Blue Wall” formed across the West Coast on Election Night should help Country Doctor build its new expanded home on 19th Ave E.

The nonprofit provider of low-income health care announced the start of construction this month on their new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

In November 2017, Country Doctor Community Health Centers (CDCHC) initiated construction on a new dental clinic at their site on 512 – 19th Ave E. CDCHC finalized plans to demolish its worn out administrative building and replace it with a new dental clinic, clearing the way for CDCHC’s long held dream of providing dental care for their patients. Accessing dental care for CDCHC’s clients is often difficult, even if they have Medicaid. The new facility will change thousands of lives by making dental services available on a sliding scale to people who currently have no access to dental care. The demand for affordable dental services is so great other Seattle health centers are forced to limit dental appointments, leaving CDCHC patients without any dental access.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services. Gridlock in Olympia has been an issue. But Shelley Lawson, grants manager with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, tells CHS that Tuesday night’s strong showing by West Coast Democrats including Manka Dhingra in the “pivotal” 45th District State Senate race should help.

“Now that the WA legislature is controlled by Democrats (after last night’s elections),” Lawson writes, “we hope they will finally approve the capital budget which includes funding for the dental clinic.”

“In this political climate funding is fluid,” she said. “We have many community partners who are helping us overcome several obstacles to make this dental clinic a reality.”

The clinic also announced is has hired a new executive director. Raleigh Watts replaces Linda McVeigh who retired in September 2017 — “the first leadership change at the community based health center in 41 years.” Raleigh joins Country Doctor after most recently working as a public health management consultant with clients including UNICEF, WHO, the CDC, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CDCHC said it expects the building to be ready and dental services to begin in early 2019.

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