by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Olympic Medical Center’s new walk-in clinic is now taking care of cuts, bruises, sprains, bronchitis and more.
The clinic, which hospital officials originally had planned to open this fall, started with a “soft opening” May 1.
Rebecca Corley, Chief Physician Officer for Olympic Medical Physicians, said they didn’t immediately announce the clinic’s opening in order to start slowly, providing the clinic’s staff with an opportunity to work out the kinks. “We had no idea what the demand would be,” Corley said.
Nevertheless, the word has gotten out. Corley said eight patients showed up that first day; the biggest day since they received 19 patients.
“It got busy very quickly,” she said.
Corley said the clinic’s opening originally was planned in concert with a remodeling project at the Medical Services Building.
OMC is spending $737,000 to finish the interior of the building, which is at 840 N. Fifth Ave.
The “build-out” will provide 4,500 square feet of new space for use by medical professionals and office staff.
Before the work could be completed, Bridgett Bell Kraft, ARNP, announced she would close the Primary Care Sequim and Walk-In Clinic, which had been serving the city’s residents since November 2006. March 7 was the last day for the clinic.
That brought a new urgency to opening the OMC clinic.
Corley was quick to note that the clinic provides walk-in service, not urgent care.
That means patients who have minor injuries and acute illnesses — diarrhea, bronchitis and sprains, for example.
Corley said the clinic isn’t equipped or manned to treat heart attack or stroke victims, but added, “We can triage them immediately to get the care they need.” That likely will mean providing a quick assessment followed by a trip by ambulance to Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles.
The new clinic doesn’t take appointments. And the staff doesn’t provide long-term care.
Holly Wickersham, manager of Olympic Medical Physician’s Sequim Specialty Clinic, also will manage the walk-in clinic.
Corley noted Wickersham is a long time Sequim resident, and said, “She’s worked in the medical profession for more than 20 years.”
Joel Finman, MD, a family practitioner and another familiar face on the peninsula, will serve as the clinic’s medical director. He also will see patients.
The clinic now has one practitioner and two examining rooms, but it will greatly expand over the next few months.
Corley said she hopes by November the clinic will be regularly staffed by two or three “advanced practice clinicians,” including physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
“We’ll do a huge opening this fall,” she said.
The clinic is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday but plans call for expanding the calendar to all 365 days of the year.
Corley said the start-up costs have been substantial, but said the clinic was never intended to be a moneymaker for the system.
“Our goal is to break even,” she said.
The clinic accepts most insurance plans — and credit cards.
Corley provided a reminder: OMC never turns away those with “true emergencies” for any reason.
For more information, call the clinic at 582-2930.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.