This August 19, Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH) will break ground on an $11 million clinic in an effort to keep up with the growth in the Lake Chelan Valley.
CVCH has served the Chelan and Douglas counties for about 40 years, and moved to the Chelan area in 2000 to better serve the northern half of Chelan County.
“Our clinic services about 21,000 or so people, not only in Chelan, Manson and Stehekin, but we draw people from Brewster, Pateros, Bridgeport, Mansfield, Entiat and Orondo,” said Manuel Navarro, the Chelan Clinic Manager. “A little bit before 2000, we saw an increase in people coming from other zip codes north of Wenatchee, so we opened in the Chelan Valley in 2000.”
Because of the projected growth in the area and north of the Chelan Valley, Navarro said the clinic, which is currently located at 317 E. Johnson Ave in Chelan, decided to expand in an effort to better serve the area.
“Since 2002 we’ve been offering medical, dental, behavioral health and WIC services out of this building and we’ve just outgrown it,” Navarro said. “We don’t have enough medical exam rooms, it just creates havoc so this new building will be about 17,000 square feet.”
The new clinic will be located in the Apple Acres area of Chelan on the corner of US Hwy 97A and North Apple Blossom Drive adjacent to Walmart. CVCH will break ground on August 19 at 8 a.m., to avoid wet weather work in the winter, with the hopes of opening its doors in July of 2017.
The new clinic will allow providers to accommodate all the same services in more modern facilities, while staying true to the primary care medical home designation that CVCH prides itself in.
“CVCH is a certified primary care medical home, and that’s a designation out there that requires proven integration of your different medical care systems that wrap around the patient,” Navarro said. “We also want to remove the access barriers that are typically there in terms of cost, socio-economic and cultural barriers. We see everybody, anybody, whether you have insurance or not.”
With a new clinic, Navarro said CVCH will implement a team-based model with its healthcare providers, creating a space where staff can collaborate and communicate on patients and treatments in an open space.
“We’ll have team rooms, so the physician sits right next to the nurse, who sits right next to the behavioral health counselor, who sits right next to the medical assistant,” Navarro said. “We’ve really began to integrate the team-based concept where it’s not only the patients in one area but all the providers in one area as well.”
Citing studies out of the Mayo Clinic, CVCH will also implement what’s called talking rooms into the clinic, where patients can meet with their doctors to collaborate and educate.
“Most of primary care, particularly when you’re doing chronic disease management, it’s all about education and talking,” Navarro said. “There’s very minimal comprehensive physical exam that needs to happen.”
Every two out of three rooms at the new CVCH clinic will be a talking room, where patients and family can talk about their needs while also reducing stress and anxiety that comes with a clinical exam space.
“Part of primary care is the provider can only tell you what to do, the patient has to want to do it and then do it themselves,” Navarro said. “There is a lot of that trust-building and building up the education rapport.”
Education is not just for the patients, Navarro added, highlighting CVCH’s desire to expand its residency programs.
CVCH currently has a dental residency program, and hopes to start up a rural residency training track in the Lake Chelan Valley.
See the article published at GoLakeChelan.com on June 4, 2016 – Chelan Valley medical organizations move forward on potential UW Residency Training Program
As far as funding, CVCH will pay for a little over half of the project, and use grant money they received for expanding. The clinic will accumulate debt for the remaining cost of the new facility.
In line with breaking down the traditional aspects of a clinic, CVCH will also incorporate walking trails on the property for the public to use as they wait for an appointment, or just to spend an afternoon in the sunshine.
“Walking is the easiest and most healthy thing people can do to improve their overall health,” Navarro said, adding that the overall medical campus hopes to promote healthy living. “We want to be not only a place for people to come and receive healthcare, but a place for people to come and feel healthy.”
The Lake Chelan Community Hospital owns property near the site of the new CVCH Clinic, putting the new site closer to a potential new hospital.
“It’s always best to be close to the hospital,” Navarro said, adding that as far as competition goes, the Lake Chelan Clinic and CVCH are already in close proximity. “Even with the number of providers that we have right now [in the Valley], we still don’t have enough to see everyone.”
All and all, the new clinic hopes to be a vital addition to healthcare in the Chelan Valley, Navarro said.
“it’s about everyone—not just the migrant or Hispanic community, or the uninsured,” Navarro said. “Healthcare is for everybody and we hope to make this a real jewel in the Chelan community, and continue to help make Chelan healthy.”
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)