Healthcare entities, civic agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses are joining together for the second year to realize a goal of providing over $2.5 million in free dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and vulnerable populations at the Seattle/King County Clinic, Oct. 22 – 25, in KeyArena at Seattle Center. As the six month countdown for the clinic begins, organizers are focused on mustering the wherewithal to produce a successful volunteer-driven clinic of this scale.
The Seattle/King County Clinic is the largest event of its kind ever undertaken in the State of Washington. It brings together thousands of healthcare professionals and general support volunteers as well as the event production expertise of the region’s top visitor destination, Seattle Center. The Clinic addresses acute health issues and introduces patients to local resources that can help provide continuity of care.
The outcomes of the 2014 Seattle/King County Clinic speak to the accomplishments of an immense local effort to respond to a profound need in our community for accessible and affordable healthcare. The 2014 Clinic provided 65 dental operatories, 58 medical treatment rooms, and 15 vision lanes. Almost 3,400 patients were served over a four-day period: 1,714 were treated in dental, 1,365 in medical, and 1,050 in vision. They received a broad range of services including: 1,999 laboratory tests, 1,823 dental images, 1,159 pairs of eyeglasses, and 453 diagnostic tests including EKGs, mammograms, ultrasound, and x-rays.
Of patients surveyed, 73% were below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, 65% had no health insurance, and 49% reported that they were unemployed. Patients reported residing in 230 unique zip codes and made use of interpretation services in 31 languages. The 2014 Clinic provided more than $2.3M in direct services to patients.
Organizers hope to surpass the number of patients served at the Clinic last October. At that time, the community joined with Remote Area Medical, a humanitarian organization which supplied some of the required dental and vision equipment and supplies. This year, community partners will move forward independently, working with new partners and drawing on the local capacity garnered through last year’s undertaking. he effort has also initiated a community-wide conversation on how to better connect those in need with accessible and affordable healthcare services across Washington.
Seattle Center Foundation, a non-profit organization, is raising money and resources needed to produce the Clinic. With a budget of approximately $700,000, it hopes half will come from in-kind donations and the other half in cash donations. Currently, a challenge grant will match all individual donations to the Clinic dollar for dollar up to $10,000. Donations can be made at Seattle Center Foundation Donations.
Organizing and implementing an event on this scale requires months of planning, thousands of volunteers, and hundreds of actively engaged partners and donors. It represents the serious dedication of a caring community to address healthcare issues at the local level, to make a difference for the most vulnerable among us. By meeting immediate healthcare needs, providing referrals for ongoing care, and raising the visibility of this issue within the broader community, it is hoped that this event will positively impact the health of the region and raise awareness of the scale of those left out of the current healthcare system.
More information on the Seattle/King County Clinic at KeyArena is available at: Seattle Center Foundation or by calling 206-684-7200.