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Sept. 26, 2021

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Battle Ground HealthCare plans move, expansion

Grant helps free clinic buy new building

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:
6 Photos
Executive director Sue Neal of Battle Ground Health Care looks out the front door of the current facility in Meadow Glad. The clinic was recently awarded a $1.1 million community development block grant to purchase a new, bigger building in a more visible location in Battle Ground.
Executive director Sue Neal of Battle Ground Health Care looks out the front door of the current facility in Meadow Glad. The clinic was recently awarded a $1.1 million community development block grant to purchase a new, bigger building in a more visible location in Battle Ground. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A free health clinic that serves hundreds of north Clark County residents is moving into a larger building, allowing the organization to expand services.

Battle Ground HealthCare recently purchased a roughly 7,600-square-foot medical building at 1910 S.W. Ninth Ave. with $1.1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds. With the additional space, the organization plans to expand its current offerings and create new ones, including influenza and COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

“This new building, along with other funding this year, provides us with new opportunities to help decrease the health disparities we see in our community,” said Adam Lee, president of the organization’s board of directors, in a news release. “This new building represents a dramatic jump in our ability to provide the life-changing care our mission calls on us to provide.”

The nonprofit has a small staff and 127 active volunteers. It provides primary care services and chronic illness management for 800 patients who are low-income, uninsured or underinsured.

Services include medical, dental, physical rehabilitation, case management, vision referrals, health and lifestyle classes and foot care. The additional space will also allow for more dental bays, medical exam rooms, physical rehabilitation therapy rooms and meeting spaces.

The new location is situated along a primary bus route and is about 2,800 square feet larger than the organization’s current office at 11117 N.E. 189th St., Suite 216, in Meadow Glade. Sue Neal, the nonprofit’s executive director, said the size and more optimal location should attract more patients, some of whom may not know that the opportunity exists.

“They’ll go, ‘Gee, is there a new health clinic in town?’ ” Neal said. “Free clinics tend to be the best-kept secret, even though there are three of us in Clark County. With our new building, we will be very visible.”

Neal said the nonprofit hopes to open the new facility after Labor Day weekend.

“It’s been a very aggressive timeline all the way through,” Neal said. “That’s the plan, and I hope we get to keep it.”

The urgency comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. About 7 percent of Clark County residents were uninsured before the pandemic, according to U.S. Census data.

In the weeks after the virus hit the county last year, Neal said she was preparing for a rush of patients to the facility once restrictions began to lift.

“It didn’t hit as quickly as I thought it would, but we have been seeing more patients and getting more phone calls as the unemployment has lingered on,” Neal said.

The clinic first opened in 2011, established by the Meadow Glade Seventh-day Adventist Church. Since then, the number of patients it serves has more than quadrupled.

In addition to the plans for the near future, Neal said she also hopes to eventually create spaces and services at the new building that increase the organization’s mental, behavioral and spiritual health offerings.

“Our volume continues to grow and our organization continues to grow,” Neal said. “I’m so excited about the opportunity that is being made available.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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