Photo by Laura Gjovaag.
Yakima Neighborhood Health Board Chairman Don Hinman and CEO Anita Monoian talk to the crowd at yesterday’s open house to celebrate the completion of the expansion to the Sunnyside location. A large crowd showed up at the open house to tour the building and learn more about the services available.
The building on Scoon Road has almost tripled in size and will now provide better access to health care in Sunnyside along with new jobs.
Yakima Neighborhood He-alth Services has expanded its Sunnyside clinic by 9,000 square feet, adding services such as an on-site pharmacy, behavioral health services and a vision center.
The goal of the facility is to provide “one-stop” services for all the health care needs of individuals or families. An open house was held yesterday to allow patients and others to tour the new $4.4 million expansion and see what services will be provided there.
Greeting the visitors, Yak-ima Neighborhood Health Board Chairman Don Hinman said the expansion will give better access to health care for many people in Sunnyside. CEO Anita Monoian thanked the patients in the crowd for their feedback that helped the organization decide what services to offer in the building.
“We want to continue to hear from you,” she said. “We really appreciate hearing about all the good we do. And we want to hear about the bad, as well, so we can fix it.”
Yakima Neighborhood Health opened for business in Sunnyside in 1980, working out of a church basement. In 2006, the organization moved into its current location on Scoon Road, formerly a veterinarian’s office. Today, the location has 30 employees, but it will have 75 to 100 when it is fully staffed.
“There will be a few jobs moving into Sunnyside,” said Communications Manager Amy Gaulke during a tour of the building.
One of the jobs is a full-time patient navigator, who will be helping patients connect with health care insurance coverage and services.
“We are the lead organization for in-person assistors in Yakima and Kittitas counties,” said Gaulke. “We will have someone here to help when people need it.”
The center also works with low-income and homeless people to help provide health care and housing. A staff member at the clinic is funded by United Way to allow locals to receive services without going to Yakima.
The center also has a WIC and maternity support services area. The employees who work in the department also make home visits and focus on prevention.
The clinic has always had dental suites, but the expansion added two more chairs and the ability to add new providers. The clinic has also added a panoramic x-ray machine that will allow better diagnosis of dental issues. In addition, dental records are integrated with health records for patients, meaning that all health providers are able to see the full picture for each patient.
The new pharmacy will give patients the ability to get their prescriptions immediately. The plans call for the pharmacy to be open Monday through Friday. The pharmacy itself is much larger than the one at the agency’s Yakima facility and will handle refills for all patients of Yakima Neighborhood Health.
“Our pharmacists are delighted with the size of this pharmacy,” said Gaulke.
Although the building is complete, not all the providers are in place yet. The vision center is set to open in the spring, but currently doesn’t have an optometrist. Gaulke said the vision center was the number one need requested by patients and staff.
The newly explanded clinic also houses a conference room that can be divided into two rooms and boosts big screen televisions, a projector with a screen and plenty of tables and chairs to host multiple types of events. Kitchen facilities will also be available to groups renting the rooms.
The building will also house the Yakima Neighborhood Health call center. The communications hub will handle scheduling for the entire organization and allow the staff at the reception desk to focus on patients instead of answering phones.
Another need that people in the area have is knowledge of how to prepare fresh foods. To address the need, the facility also has a classroom kitchen where small classes can be taught. The goal is to teach young parents how to do inexpensive food preparation, using affordable, fresh ingredients. The classroom will also be used to help patients with diabetes, hypertension or other conditions that can be helped with nutrition learn how to prepare food.
Most of the staff of the clinic is bilingual so they can help almost any patient in the area.