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The clinic focuses on family medicine in an area with the largest planned housing development in Oregon's history.

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Tuality Healthcare faculty and staff gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the expanded South Hillsboro Primary Care Clinic on Friday, Sept. 13.With unprecedented growth planned for South Hillsboro, Tuality Healthcare is responding.

Tuality unveiled the newest expansion to its South Hillsboro Primary Care Clinic on Friday.

The clinic at 7529 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway, which started seeing patients in February, focuses on family medicine, offering prenatal, hospitalized patient and geriatric care. It is expected to be Tuality's largest primary care practice within five years.

Oregon Health and Sciences University, which oversees Tuality, has wanted to open a family medicine clinic and train residents — physicians who have recently graduated from medical school — in South Hillsboro for more than 20 years, according to Jennifer DeVoe, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at OHSU.

The largest planned housing development in Oregon's history is under construction within view of the clinic's entrance. City and county planners have been planning the development for nearly two decades. It will feature 8,000 new homes and bring about 20,000 people to the area.

At the clinic's ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Tuality officials passed around cake and gave tours of the new facility. Officially opening Tuesday, Sept. 10, the expanded building features 18 exam rooms, two procedure rooms, collaborative workspaces and a waiting area with a lot of natural light.

Five new physicians joined the clinic's initial two earlier this month. More than 1,100 patients are already under the clinic's care. In total, the clinic is expected to have 10 to 12 faculty and 24 family medicine residents by 2024.

"All of this is being set up to be a home for the residency, and that's a new concept," said Dr. Mary Nordling, program director of the Tuality Family Residency program. "Another unique twist to us is that we take care of our patients in the hospital. I had a patient yesterday who came from a residency clinic because she loved that. She was like, 'They knew me in the hospital, and they knew me here, and I didn't have to retell my story.' Because (the residents) are fresh out of medical school, they have the latest in training, the latest in evidence. It's really a win-win for the community."

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Dr. Mary Nordling, program director of the Tuality Family Residency program, speaks to new physicians and faculty from Tuality Healthcare and Oregon Health & Science University at the expanded South Hillsboro Primary Care Clinic.Nordling said research from across the country shows residents are most likely to stay within 30 minutes of where they train.

"Because we're more rural out here, the hope is that they'll stay and practice with a rural scope," she said.

Michelle Kirkland, vice president of provider and network services at Tuality, said the hospital heavily researched how best to meet the growing area's primary care needs about three years ago.

"This was our first area highlighted to grow," Kirkland said. "It has been a long time coming."

Nate McConkie, Tuality's vice president of strategy and business integration, said data shows people sought primary care outside the area. Previously, Tuality partnered with independent primary care providers.

"This is the first time we're really deliberately building a large primary care clinic with our docs here," McConkie said.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, new physicians said they were excited to start providing care.

Dr. James Beckwith grew up in Portland, but he finished his residency in California before moving to Hillsboro with his wife and young kids.

"It's a big, exciting new clinic," Beckwith said. "There's a pretty big need in the community for primary care, so I think it's a great thing."


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