Northwest NEWS

October 16, 2000

Front Page

Voters to decide on Evergreen annexation

Approval means Duvall will get new medical clinic
   by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   DUVALLčOn November 7, Duvall-area voters will decide whether they want to become part of Evergreen Healthcare (King County Hospital District #2). Evergreen is a public supported facility, so if residents approve the annexation, property owners will be taxed about 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed value or about $78 a year on a $200,000 home. The boundaries would be slightly larger than Fire District 45, encompassing Lake Joy.
   In return, Evergreen will expand medical services, which would cover capitalization costs of a medical facility and the full range of medical care and supporting services, into the Duvall area.
   The ballot measure comes on the heels of months of study by the Evergreen Healthcare Board of Commissioners who were asked to look at the issue by a group of Duvall business leaders and professionals earlier this year. It was the absence of a primary care facility that fired the resolve of the group, who told the board that while there are dentists, chiropractors and therapists in town, there have been no physicians since Medalia Health Care closed its office over two years ago.
   Dr. Gary Rutledge, a Duvall chiropractor, said after the group studied the matter they learned, that because of the health care climate and medical insurance issues, that individual doctors are no longer financially able to open and/or maintain private clinics. The group then decided to approach the Evergreen Healthcare Board which scheduled two public hearings at the Duvall Library to learn whether residents would actually support a clinic.
   At the hearings this summer, residents told the board that Duvall is a critical casečin dire need of local physicians due to the growing numbers of senior citizens and children in the area. They cited the isolation of the Valley in times of flooding or snow, and difficulties in getting around due to increased traffic.
   Group members said they hoped for a medical facility that would offer family practice, extended hours, and diagnostic and other support services, such as X-ray and lab.
   Evergreen management says the district, if annexation is approved, would build a clinic similar, although smaller, to one constructed earlier this year in a new building in the city of Sammamish.
   The new 6,000-square-foot Sammamish clinic opened in May and is staffed by three physicians and one registered nurse practitioner, plus other support personnel. The clinic is open from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m Friday and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday.
   The clinic was built with 16 exam rooms and one procedure room, laboratory and X-ray services and a conference/classroom. Exam rooms include some that are extra-wide for those who use wheelchairs.
   Administrator Linda Evankovich said the facility is not yet fully used yet, but there is the potential for two more providers as the patient load grows.
   "Like every business, it takes a while to establish yourself in an area," she said. "We are getting busier and busier every day."
   According to Ben Lindekugel, Evergreen Director of Community Relations, the clinic staff went so far as to go door-to-door, taking clinic brochures to housing developments and shops to inform people of the new clinic.
   "This reflects our view of care," he said. "That of helping communities stay well."
   Evergreen also offers home health and hospice services, along with educational and wellness programs.
   At the Sammamish clinic, recent classes included Skin Care for Women, The Benefits of Massage, Approaching Menopause, Evergreen Babysitters Club and Infant and Child CPR.
   Lindekugel said if the annexation is approved, Evergreen would immediately begin to work with residents to learn what they want included in the design of the facility.