In just over a year’s time, the Olympic Medical Physicians Sequim Walk-in Clinic has expanded from two tiny rooms in the back corner of 840 N. Fifth Ave. to nine exam rooms, a nurse’s station, physician’s office and utility room for simple tests.
Previously down a long corridor, the clinic office is now conveniently located across the lobby from the entrance to the Medical Services Building. Since opening in May 2012, the clinic, which was established to provide same-day non-emergency services, has seen two expansions, one in February and another in June. Each exam room has a computer to access any OMC medical records digitally.
The ample space, said medical director Dr. Joel Finman, “helps tremendously with the smoothness and efficiency of seeing folks. It’s allowed us to expand from one provider to two on most days and has reduced backlogs. I’m grateful for what the hospital (Olympic Medical Center) has done. It’s turned out very well.”
Also on staff are a physician assistant, three nurse practitioners, two registered nurses and two medical assistants. The five practitioners have more than 50 years of combined clinical experience.
Finman stressed that the clinic is not intended to be an emergency room but is an alternative for patients who don’t have or can’t get in to see a primary care physician. The clinic’s scope of practice includes minor injuries, minor cuts and wounds, urinary tract symptoms, respiratory infections, cold or flu symptoms, allergy or asthma symptoms, vomiting or diarrhea and dehydration, skin infections or rashes, sports physicals and CDL exams.
“We are able to do IVs for fluid hydration,” Finman said. “We look at each case without overstepping our bounds. With our labs, X-rays and IVs, we’re able to address many outpatient needs but we’re conscious of conditions that may require more advanced treatment and work with folks accordingly.”
Nor is the clinic’s staff equipped to take on the role of a primary care practice because patients are better served with continuity of care, Finman said.
As knowledge of the clinic has spread and its facility has grown, patient visits have increased from 25 a week initially to 75-100, said Finman, whose experience is in family and emergency medicine.
With a solid uptick in patients, the clinic is recruiting a second physician and is looking at the possibility of being open seven days a week, with weekend lab services.
“For me it’s been a real treat to see the progress to where we are now. The hospital has been very supportive,” Finman said.
The clinic accepts most insurance plans. For new private-pay patients, office fees start at $140 but the clinic offers a 20-percent discount for cash payment at the time of service. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m Monday-Saturday.