For the last five years, volunteers from over 130 healthcare organization, civic agencies, non-profits, and volunteers from across the State of Washington congregate to produce a giant free health clinic at Seattle Center offering free services to the Seattle/King County community. In 2018, 4,156 volunteers provided just over $3.3 million in dental, vision and medical care to 3,661 economically disadvantaged patients. In the past three years, over 355 caregivers from Swedish, a member of the Providence St. Joseph Health System, have been part of the effort contributed hundreds of hours to this event.
“I loved volunteering at the Seattle King County Clinic (SKCC). I got to work with some amazing nurses from around the state, meet clients and hear their stories - some sad, some inspiring, all amazing. And I loved the sense of gratitude that permeated everything we did - I left the weekend exhausted and refreshed at the same time, can't wait to do it again,” says Amanda Cohn, Resident Nurse.
A wide range of services are offered each year including acupuncture, behavioral health chiropractic, dermatology, podiatry, hepatitis C (Rapid) testing, HIV (Rapid) testing, immunizations, mammograms, nutrition consultation, general physical Exams including pediatrics, physical therapy, ultrasound, wound care, vision, dental and more. This year occupational therapy, dermatology and consultations with a hand, wrist and elbow specialist were added. It is estimated the clinic provided $1.1 million in medical services.
In 2018, 46% of the needs were met through cash expense, while 54% were covered by in-kind contributions (not inclusive of volunteer time). Swedish provided a $10K for 2 years ( $20K) an in-kind donation of medical supplies and equipment which did not include caregiver time. Over 70 Caregivers from Swedish, a member of the Providence St. Joseph Health family, volunteered their time to this year’s four-day event.
“We are a proud partner of the Seattle King County Clinic,” says Williams. “Not only is it a huge event helping thousands of people, but it also symbolized the tremendous work organizations can do when they pull together for common cause.”
“I have volunteered at the SKC for 3 years now and find each year more rewarding than the previous. Seeing the diversity of the population that can receive much needed services is incredible and nothing short of awe inspiring. The clinic is extremely well organized, and I absolutely love being a part of such a large community effort to help those who are in need” said Andrea Verost-Gibson, concierge coordinator.
For those who cannot converse in English, interpretation assistance is available from onsite volunteers or through a remote video and phone system provided by InDemand Interpreting. Onsite information and registration materials are also printed in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Registration indicated over 33 different languages were reported being spoken by the patients receiving services.
“I have had the opportunity to be able to volunteer 4 years and this last time I was one of 4 Interpreter Leads. We worked from 4:30 AM to 6:00 PM coordinating multiple language speakers to folks that needed them. It was amazing to be part of such a beautifully choreographed team. Service is its own reward, this event really drives that home!” said, Iris Saravia, EPIC Claims Analyst.
Registered patients came from 226 unique zip codes. The highest concentration of patients reported coming from Kings County, primarily the Seattle Metro area (47%), followed by Everett, Lynnwood, Federal Way and Renton. Yet data showed over 20% of participants traveled to the clinic from Snohomish, Pierce and other WA counties.
In addition to the clinical services provided, social workers, health insurance navigators and behavioral health professionals were on site and are considered the backbone for the services provided that day. Social workers helped to identify community services to meet a wide variety of needs, from food and housing to healthcare. Navigators assisted patients and their companions with health insurance questions and/or enrollment. Besides the services offered in the medical area, behavioral health professionals provided consultations and support services to people throughout the clinic. In addition, patient health educators met with individuals and groups to address behaviors that promote wellness, and clinic organizers invited local community health centers to be onsite to meet with patients who needed follow-up or continued care.
“In the span of four days, the Seattle King County clinic helps thousands of people. Since 2013, they estimate over 20,000 patients have been served. That is a lot of community benefit and a lot of concentrated impact in our communities, “says Sherry Williams, Regional Director, Community Health Investment, Swedish Hospital.