(NEWPORT, OR) For those seeking medical and behavioral health services in southern Lincoln County, a more convenient option will open its doors in July, when Lincoln County Health and Human Services (HHS) launches a new clinic in Waldport.
Earlier this month, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to purchase the building at 525 N. Bay Street, which formerly housed a physician’s office. The sale is expected to be finalized on April 21, officially jump-starting efforts to ready the building for a July clinic opening.
“Because it had been a physician’s office, the layout and design is perfect for our operation,” explained HHS Director Jayne Romero. “As soon as we looked at the building, we could see the possibilities,” she added.
The coming months will be spent making minor renovations, bringing fiber cable into the building for internet connectivity, and getting the various licensures required of any clinic in place.
Much like the clinics operated in Newport and Lincoln City, the Waldport facility will be home to a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC), which means services are provided regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
At the outset, Romero anticipates primary care services offered two days per week, behavioral health services two days per week, and a registered nurse on-site for two days as well. The building’s layout also lends itself to traveling clinics and services, including a monthly clinic for those utilizing the nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC) and gatherings related to the maternal child health program. Over time, it is likely that additional programs and services will be offered at the facility.
Currently HHS operates a school-based health clinic in Waldport, providing primary care and behavioral health services to students. That service will continue and be supplemented by some additional child and family behavioral health services at the new facility.
Efforts are underway to recruit additional medical providers to the HHS staff, which provides care at several sites throughout the county. Officials anticipate that existing providers will see patients in Waldport until new hires join the staff.
“We are excited by this opportunity to bring greater access to care to those who have previously struggled with barriers, whether they be a transportation issue, an inability to pay, or feeling intimidated by the thought of coming into a larger office,” Romero said.
County Commission Chair Claire Hall was equally enthused when the commission voted unanimously to purchase the building at a cost of $370,000. “This will be a wonderful expansion of our Health and Human Services to south county,” she said.