Growth, actually

January brought exciting additions to Vancouver’s health care community

Kaiser Permanente’s new 64,000-square-foot primary care clinic in Orchards should feel like home to its users: it was designed by them.

For three years, teams of physicians, medical assistants and clinicians brainstormed what
the space would look like and how it would work, said Nancy Roberts, primary care service area director for Kaiser Permanente’s north service area.

"We wanted it to work for them and be user-friendly for our members," she said. "There are some exciting things we did differently."

The result is expanded exam rooms with privacy curtains, an unusual find that allows patients to be separated from care givers and translators who accompany them into the exam rooms.

"This way, the care giver may verbally take part in the exam but not visually," Roberts said. The idea came from a staff member.

The $25 million building at 7101 N.E. 137th Ave. is Kaiser Permanente’s fifth medical building in Clark County and began seeing patients in January. It operates another medical clinic in Longview.

It was designed to be comfortable and welcoming, as can be seen by the tall, stainless steel rendering of a human with its arms outstretched beckoning visitors inside.

The lobby includes a "learning hearth" stocked with computers that allow patients to access the Kaiser Permanente website to email their clinicians and check parts of their patient records.

There was a focus on natural and renewable materials, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide abundant natural light, Roberts said. There also is a quarter-of-a-mile long walking trail around the building that connects to existing sidewalks to encourage staff and community exercise.

Portland-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects designed the space and Oregon City-based general contractor Brockamp & Jaeger built it. Even the art that lines the walls was commissioned from an Oregon artist.

About 80 employees are staffed at the clinic, including 15 clinicians. Staff is expected to grow to about 150. Services include family practice and pediatrics services, a pharmacy lab, imaging department, eye care center, physical therapy and occupational therapy. A nursery room is in the works.

The new clinic absorbed a small Kaiser clinic in Fishers Landing, and many of its employees transferred.

"We wanted to be able to provide care in a locale convenient to our members and provide for the need to grow membership in certain areas," Roberts said. "This area has a lot of young families, so it’s situated to fit their needs – pediatrics and family care."

Kaiser has about 160,000 members in Clark County.

"It’s always good when we can offer more health care opportunities for our area," she said. "For a long time, we struggled with a less than adequate number, but have really remedied that."

An official grand opening celebration is slated from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 15.

Hospitals celebrate openings

Southwest Washington Medical Center unveiled its highly anticipated Firstenburg Patient Tower to the public late in the month.

The $146 million, 307,000-square-foot expansion will nearly double the size of the hospital’s campus when it starts accepting patients on Feb. 19.

The tower, which has garnered an unprecedented $44 million in public donations, includes a new consolidated Heart and Vascular Center – featuring two suites dedicated to open heart surgery – 13 operating rooms and space for 154 private patients.

It is also home to a bone and joint center made up of partnerships with Vancouver-based Rebound Surgical Specialists and Kaiser orthopedic surgeons, and a brain and spine center, which is a compilation of expert services from SWMC’s pain clinic, Rebound’s neurosurgeons, Vancouver Neurology and Columbia Imaging Group.

The tower’s eighth floor is dedicated to private patient rooms with views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and the Portland skyline.

Seattle-based NBBJ designed the project and Portland-based Hoffman-Anderson Joint Venture was the general contractor. The architects put a high premium on natural light, and more than 60,000 square feet of glass cover the building. The expansive light reaches to operating rooms and staff corridors that normally rely on florescent bulbs – reducing utility costs and potentially helping patient healing.

Other features include pre-operative and laboratory services, an outpatient pharmacy, Fireside Café, floral market, a donor tribute wall and free valet parking.

On Jan. 15, Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital introduced two new clinics: Legacy Clinic Salmon Creek, a primary care clinic, and the Legacy Salmon Creek Devers Eye Institute. The two clinics share a space at 2101 N.E. 139th St. in Vancouver.

The primary care clinic is open to individuals 15 years and older, and accepts most insurance plans and Medicare and Medicaid. Medical doctor Timothy Roddy, who served as chief resident at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, leads the clinic. Roddy has practiced in Legacy hospitals for 20 years, but has lived in Vancouver for 16.

The clinic has the capacity for six physicians, and is actively recruiting for another to join Roddy.
Board certified opthomologist Dr. Thomas Hwang practices at the eye clinic, and sees patients there three days a week. Hwang specializes in diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous.

The clinics are a first for Legacy in Southwest Washington. Legacy operates 12 clinics with 60 physicians in Portland.