Thursday, neighbors and supporters will get their first opportunity to visit the new Country Doctor building next to their longtime clinic at the corner of 19th and Republican. Patients and families are already being served with an expanded array of services from the nonprofit provider of health care regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
“It was a little bit behind but not by much when you consider these kinds of projects,” development director Michael Craig tells CHS about the project’s long journey to Thursday’s open house. “To me we’re kind of right on schedule.”
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The new expansion of Country Doctor adds room a dental clinic and more space for behavioral health services. “Accessing dental care for CDCHC’s clients is often difficult, even if they have Medicaid,” Country Doctor said about its expansion project. “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,” officials said.
The nonprofit provider of low-income health care started construction in late 2017 on the new four-story building on the former site of its 19th Ave E offices next to the 19th at Republic clinic but the effort to create the new clinic began far earlier as the nonprofit scrambled for the community and political support required to fund the $6.5 million facility.
Powered by capital campaign, grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services, gridlock in Olympia had been an issue but Democratic success in the 2017 election helped turn the tide and keep state funding for the project on track.
The family of clinics also got a new leader as Raleigh Watts replaced Linda McVeigh who retired in September 2017 as executive direct — “the first leadership change at the community based health center in 41 years,” the organization noted.
Designed by 15th Ave E’s Environmental Works, the new building is also creating a few new homes in the neighborhood. The project’s top two floors was designed to house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.
Looking ahead, County Doctor’s Craig said the family of clinics is focused primarily on expanding services for the city’s homelessness population.
“A lot more of our patient population is experiencing homelessness and don’t have permanent housing,” Craig said.
The hope is for Country Doctor to find organizations to partner with to help them reach this growing segment of people in Seattle who most need their services.
You can learn more at countrydoctor.org.