News

Sequim clinic closing

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Primary Care Sequim and Walk-In Clinic will close its doors forever on March 7.

 

The clinic, which has operated since November 2006 at 520 N. Fifth Ave., is owned and operated by Bridgett Bell Kraft. The 3,400-square-foot clinic has been welcoming patients for primary care and on a walk-in basis since November 2006.

 

Bell Kraft said at one time the clinic had as many as 15 employees on the payroll, though she has been reducing the number in anticipation of closing. “Most of my primary care patients have already gotten new primary care providers,” she said.

 

Over the years the clinic signed up more than 18,500 registered patients, Bell Kraft said, but added that many of those were simply one-timers, including patients who were provided with sports physicals or drug screens.

 

Many, however, relied on the clinic for much more.

 

Bell Kraft said Primary Care Sequim was never a full-blown “urgent care” clinic, at least not according to the current usage of that term.

 

“A real urgent care clinic has IVs, CAT scans, labs,” she said. “We’re been doing occupational care, chest pain, bronchitis ...” she said. “This is a walk-in clinic.”

 

“I have loved this practice,” Bell Kraft said, “I feel like we have been able to give really personalized care and to immediately treat, coordinate and refer our patients to specialty care with physicians in other medical facilities. We’ve also been available on an urgent-need basis for those people who don’t require the advanced care of an emergency room, but still need immediate attention.”

 

Taking a little time

“Many factors, including diminishing reimbursement rates, the complications of dealing with ever-changing insurance regulation, staffing difficulties and other business stressors have all contributed to this decision to close the practice,” Bell Kraft said. “I also had to recognize that I could no longer expend the hours working in and out of the office, the demands and stresses of the practice, at the expense of my own life and my family’s well-being.”

 

“I can’t do it passionately anymore,” she said, adding, “and I have a 16-year-old at home.”

 

The clinic remains open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday through Wednesday, March 7. “If you need a medication refill, come by before March 7,” Bell Kraft said.

 

Patients wanting their medical records transferred to another provider can fill out releases at Primary Care Sequim or call 582-1200 for further information.

 

CliniCare, which is in Port Angeles, will serve as Sequim’s closest walk-in clinic.

 

Rhonda Curry, Olympic Medical Center’s assistant administrator for strategic development, said the closure of Primary Care Sequim is likely to have little immediate impact on the development of OMC’s planned Sequim walk-in clinic, which may open later this year. “We’re sticking with our plan,” she said.

“We are still proceeding with planning and evaluation.”

 

Bell Kraft said she is “thrilled” by OMC’s proposal to open a facility in Sequim. “They are rightly placed,” she said. “And it’s needed.”

 

“Hopefully, they will be able to provide the higher level of care that was out of the scope of my practice.”

 

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.


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