New Ochoco clinic building to open Jan. 9

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: December 19. 2006 5:00AM PST

After years of planning and months of construction, the Ochoco Community Clinic plans to open the doors to its new building in downtown Prineville on Jan. 9.

The $3.6 million facility on Beaver Street in Prineville will quadruple the clinic’s space and allow it to serve between 3,000 and 3,500 more patients a year, Executive Director Lynn Martin said.

Ochoco Community Clinic is a federally funded community health center that provides primary-care medical services for uninsured and low-income patients in the Prineville area.

“Our goal with the facility was to really create a clinic that anybody could feel comfortable coming to and to provide a space where our patients, even if you are low-income and you’re not insured, it’s a nice space to come to,” Martin said.

The building is on the site of the former Prineville Medical Clinic, which closed several years ago. Ochoco Community Clinic purchased the property in 2003. Even though the original plan was to renovate the old building, Martin said, the architects eventually recommended tearing it down to start from scratch. The new location will be paid for via a community development block grant as well as private grants and donations.

Martin said construction on the building started about nine months ago, but the plan for a new clinic has been in the works since Ochoco Community Clinic opened in Prineville in 2002. The original assessment of the area, which was conducted in order to apply for federal grants, showed that 16,800 medical visits were needed annually in the community. Right now, the clinic can only accommodate about 6,500 visits each year.

“We have fairly long wait times to get in as a new patient – it can be up to a month,” Martin said. “We just know that there are more people that could be served that we know aren’t.”

Ochoco Community Clinic is also adding a new physician, who has already been hired and will start Jan. 2, Martin said. In addition, the affiliated clinic in Bend is also adding another physician in January. Under the umbrella of Ochoco Health Systems, the clinics in Prineville, Bend and Madras serve uninsured and underinsured patients throughout Central Oregon.

Martin said the Bend and Madras clinics both have relatively new facilities that were designed, like the new building in Prineville, with room to grow.

In addition to Ochoco Community Clinic, the new Beaver Street building will house the Crook County Health Department, which is also short on space right now. Director Wendy Perrin said that some of the health department’s staff members have to work out of satellite offices because the current location is overcrowded.

The move also makes sense because of the overlap between health department and Ochoco Community Clinic customers, Perrin and Martin said.

“From time to time on both ends we make referrals to one another, some patients can have sort of a one-stop shopping situation there,” Martin said. “There’s just a synergy with the types of services that we provide.”

The health department will lease about 5,000 square feet of the roughly 14,000-square-foot facility from Ochoco Community Clinic. There will also be about 2,700 square feet of shared space that will allow staff members at both to work more closely together.

“It’s going to give a better face to the health department,” Perrin said. “People, I think, will become more aware of our services because it’s going to be more apparent where the health department is, (in) a nicer, cleaner building.”

The new clinic is also designed to complement the Prineville streetscape, Martin said.

“The thing that we tried to do with the building was really make sure that it fit into the downtown area and that the community could be proud of it as enhancing the downtown area and just really being part of the whole look and feel there,” she said.

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