Photos by Steve Shay
HealthPoint Community Health Care broke ground on its fourteenth clinic Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 26401 Pacific Highway S., Des Moines. Top photo, HealthCare CEO Thomas Trompeter gives speech in from of the building site. Below, L-F: Trompeter, Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage, Senator Karen Keiser, HealthPoint Board Member Sabrina Matson, KC Councilmember Julia Patterson, Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan, & HealthPoint Board Member Chad Horner.

HealthPoint Clinic breaks ground 26401 Pacific Highway S., Des Moines; Will remove burden from ER visits

HealthPoint Community Health Care broke ground on its fourteenth clinic Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 26401 Pacific Highway S., Des Moines. Joining HealthPoint CEO Thomas Trompeter were Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan, Des Moines Police Chief George Delgado, King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, 33rd District Senator Karen Keiser, Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage, Des Moines City Manager Tony Piasecki, and others.

In the opening speech, Mayor Kaplan said, "I can't say enough about how important this facility is. The demographics of Des Moines and in all of the South King County cities has changed dramatically over the past several decades. The needs have continued to grow. For a long time Des Moines had a need for government services because of the lack of employment opportunities, language barriers. With the addition of this 36,000 square foot facility you are going to see an ability to handle over 14,000 patients. That's a lot of people who will get services they can't otherwise get. Getting here is going to get a lot easier being on a major transportation line on Pacific Highway South."

Councilmember Patterson continued, "I want to say first of all how desperately this area has needed a clinic like this forever. It is a forgotten area in King County, the Midway area. It's wonderful to finally see services coming.

"I know the Affordable Care Act, and some like to call ObamaCare and that's fine with me...One of its cornerstones is more people having access to healthcare. The president and members of Congress who passed that law recognized that community health centers were the entities to do that, high quality, primary healthcare. So this facility is in keeping with the intent of the new affordable health care bill.

"This will be a boost to economic development in this area. It is in need of that and we believe that this will be a cornerstone for bringing in more businesses, for creating an energy here for economic development."

She then thanked those involved in the clinic's private fundraising effort.

Trompeter said, "We (at HealthPoint) are as much about strengthening our communities as we are about the clinical services that are so essential to the patients who come to visit us. We've been serving South Seattle communities for over 40 years. This will be our seventh South King County location, a total healthcare access point for low income families and individuals, including medical, dental, behavioral health, nutrition, pharmacy, and other social services. Valley Cities Mental Health will provide services in this building. And Public Health King County will serve new moms and babies.

"This facility will help eliminate economic, geographic, and cultural barriers for people living in Midway and surrounding areas. There will be 60 to 70 jobs created when we are open. We received a new federal Access Point grant in addition to current federal grant. Construction begins next month, and we open our doors fall, 2013. This is an aggressive schedule and we know Abbott Construction can deliver."

He also thanked Miller Hayashi Architects for the design which he said impressed.

He said that a crucial function of the new clinic will be to take the burden away from area emergency rooms.

Lisa Yohalem, Director of Planning and Development, Health Point Community Health Care Center, elaborated for the Highline Times. She shared Trompeter's view of the importance of the new clinic's urgent and primary care as an alternate to emergency room visits for patients who come in without emergencies.

"On March 1, HealthPoint opened an urgent care center in Tukwila, the specialty campus of Highline Hospital," Yohalem said. "It was Highline Hospital's former emergency room before they built their new one on their main campus. They asked us to come in because that emergency room was often seeing patients who really didn't need emergency care. They needed urgent or primary care, for bad ear aches for instance, or if their doctor's office is closed, or if they have no doctor.

"A large number of uninsured patients used the emergency room for urgent and primary care who didn't have access anywhere else, so now they can be seen at HealthPoint's Tukwila clinic for about one-sixth the cost of an emergency room visit. Somebody was paying for that somewhere in the system and we are happy to be there to reduce those costs."

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