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Clinic finds success at Wade Creek location and hopes to soon expand its mental health offerings

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Orion Falvey and Oliver Alexander are the founders and directors of Orchid Health, which has been at its Wade Creek location in Estacada since August. They believe the clinic has been successful thus far and are eager to continue serving the community.

Four months into its Estacada tenure, more than 300 patients have established care at Orchid Health's Wade Creek Clinic.

"We want health care to be local and accessible," said co-founder and co-director Oliver Alexander.

Alexander and his business partner Orion Falvey began working on the concept for Orchid Health, which has another clinic in Oakridge, while studying business at the University of Oregon. The business model strives to connect primary healthcare to rural communities while allowing patients to form meaningful relationships with their providers.

"We really focus on relationships with patients," Alexander said. "Other medical clinics often look at beating the competition, but we've always focused on providing a positive experience for our patients."

In order to maximize the time providers spend with patients, intake appointments are an hour long, and any follow up appointments are a half hour. The clinic's three providers see a maximum of 11 patients per day.

"We're nowhere near that now," Alexander added.

The clinic is attempting to reach a variety of patients in Estacada. In addition to accepting Medicaid insurance, they will begin accepting Kaiser insurance on Dec. 31.

"Typically, (Kaiser doesn't) cover their patients' visits to outside clinics, but we've partnered to bring more healthcare options (to more people in Estacada)," Alexander said.

In addition to primary care services, the clinic also offer same-day appointments to those with more pressing medical issues. Since the clinic opened, there have been more than 200 same-day appointments.

Moving forward, the clinic hopes to expand its offerings for mental health care.

"(We see) a lot of depression and anxiety, which makes it hard for people to achieve their other health goals," Alexander said.

In response to this, a mental health counselor will join the clinic's staff in April.

"If people walk in with mental health issues, we'll be able to help them with those needs," Alexander said. "We're hoping to connect primary and mental health care."

He noted that the most common issues treated in Estacada are diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"We're always looking to expand on how we're treating those," he said.

Alexander also expressed interest in searching for ways to connect resources in Estacada.

"We have a lot of positive resources, like the pregnancy resource center, the food bank and the DHS office, but there's a lot to do in terms of mental health therapy and coordination of social services," he said.

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