New primary care clinic opens

At Cascade Community Health, walk-in patients welcome for non-urgent care

Cascade Community Health

Location: 500 W. Fir St., Ste. C, Sequim

Phone: 360-504-3601

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday


Members of the Sequim community now have greater access to primary care services with the opening of Cascade Community Health, a family medicine, walk-in clinic.

The clinic is owned and operated by a trio of Seattle-area physicians who tired of the restrictions and production-focused approach to patient care of large hospital systems.

“They wanted to have quality of care and that’s a big component of how our group practices,” said Omear Khalid, chief of operations for the five clinics the physicians have established on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.

“Their concept is to serve communities that are underserved and to provide affordable and equal health care to all,” Khalid said. “They want to provide a solution where there’s a need.”

The practice began in Silverdale and the goal was to come to the Olympic Peninsula because “there is a big pocket of need,” Khalid said. “We’re trying to fill a niche and we have zero desire to go head to head with any other health care system. We want to bring on providers who care about the community with a co-op-like business model but we have no desire to dictate how they practice. We just want to be sustainable to be able to provide quality health care.”

Added Amanda DeCastro, director of clinic operations, “I’ve seen a lot of changes over time and I prefer this model because the physicians get to practice the medicine they’re passionate about and happier physicians make for happier patients. We just want to provide a service in the community for what we were told is a desperate need.”

The clinic opened in mid-March and is taking new primary care patients with chronic medical problems. Also as a walk-in clinic, providers will treat non-urgent conditions such as colds, the flu, minor lacerations, twisted — but not broken — ankles and more.

Providers also will give immunizations and draw blood for labs on the order of a patient’s physician.

To lower the cost of labs, the clinic contracts with PAML, a reference laboratory with facilities in the Seattle area, which sends results to the patient’s physician.

The lab draws are available to anyone with a doctor’s order. The clinic also is approved to do CDL and DOT physicals.

“We plan on having X-rays and a higher degree of urgent service,” DeCastro said. “Ultimately, we want to be open seven days a week.”

Experienced provider

“We are actively recruiting for providers and physician assistants,” Khalid said.

In the meantime, patients will see Matthew James, a certified physician assistant who has a long and varied career in medicine. James was a paramedic with the New York City Fire Department on 9/11 and spent eight months at Ground Zero recovering victims. He also was a firefighter/paramedic in rural Wyoming and helped establish a free clinic. He also worked with several groups of indigenous peoples in South Dakota and Alaska.

James earned his PA-C degree from the University of Washington Medical School’s MEDEX Northwest program, which he described as going to four years of medical school without the requirement of completing a residency.

Asked about his views on practicing medicine, James reflected, “Is health care a right or a privilege? Is a patient a client? My opinion is that health care is a right and a patient is not a client because he’s not consuming a product. What’s my job? To improve the quality of people’s lives and to do that, I have to see you on a certain level. I have the privilege of getting involved in people’s lives and I do believe in grassroots community health.”

James stressed that Cascade is “not a boutique, not a hospital branch.” It is, he said, “a community health clinic and the doors are open to everyone who needs primary health services. Our No. 1 goal is that access to health care be preserved.”

Cascade Community Health representatives will be part of the Irrigation Festival grand parade and the clinic also is interested in sponsoring youth organizations.

In its commitment to serve a wide range of patients, Cascade accepts Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurances but not Molina, said Amy Phillips, the clinic’s receptionist and office manager.