SHA partners with the Seattle/King County Clinic for the sixth year
The 2020 Seattle/King County Clinic will be opening its doors at Seattle Center, Feb. 13-16. The massive volunteer-driven clinic is usually held at KeyArena, but due to reconstruction, this year’s Clinic will be held in various buildings on the Seattle Center campus. Patients will check in and receive their tickets at Fisher Pavilion.
Since the Clinic began six years ago, the Seattle Housing Authority has been a supporting partner, helping to spread the word about the free medical, dental and vision care for those in need. SHA also supports a program that allows staff to volunteer for the Clinic on paid time.
"The Seattle Housing Authority has been a tremendous resource in helping us to connect with people who may need these services, and helping us to identify potential volunteers, especially those who speak other languages fluently," said Seattle/King County Clinic Director Julia Colson.
Since 2014, Colson has led the effort, working with others at Seattle Center and Seattle Center Foundation, to bring four days of free health services for those who struggle to access or afford healthcare.
Healthcare professionals and general support volunteers are the foundation of the clinic. The number of volunteers determines how many patients can be served. Since the Clinic began in 2014, more than 17,900 volunteers have participated. This year, the goal is to recruit 1,000 volunteers for each of the four days.
The Clinic has served 20,000 patients in the past five years, and provided $17 million in healthcare services. It’s the largest healthcare event in Washington. The hope is to provide more than $2.5 million in dental, vision and medical services during the February 2020 event.
Patients receive free health services ranging from dental fillings, vision screening, physical exams, immunizations, mammograms, ultrasounds and x-rays to behavioral healthcare. Additional resources such as social work or help with health insurance will be available.
Colson believes that the Clinic is an opportunity to break down stereotypes about those who seek the services.
"One of the things I love about this clinic is our volunteers come and they see, experience and have that connection with others, and their assumptions about people in need change," said Colson. "And I think that's tremendous because you see each patient for the human being that they are. They are not a statistic anymore."
The Clinic is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center will be open at 12:30 a.m. and admission tickets will be distributed at 5:00 a.m. each day of the Clinic at Fisher Pavilion. Patients may attend more than one day but must get a separate admission ticket each day. Interpreters will be available. Patients do not need ID or proof of immigration status and do not need to be residents of Seattle or King County. It's recommended that patients wear comfortable clothes and bring plenty of food and water. There's free parking at the Mercer St. Garage, 650 3rd Ave. N.
"We deeply value our partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority, said Colson. “The Seattle/King County Clinic is the result and product of a broad community effort. There is not one entity or one organization that is doing this project alone."