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Clackamas County Health Department plans to offer dental, behavioral and primary care in new facility

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKAMAS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT  - The Clackamas County Health Department is hopeful that the new holistic Sandy health clinic will be completed by March.Though delayed by the pandemic, progress is being made on the new Clackamas County-run health clinic in Sandy.

The new holistic health center is now under construction in the location of the old Oregon Harvest building neighboring the Sandy Police Department, and county health department director Deborah Cockrell is hopeful that the facility will be completed by March.

The project was intended to be finished by summer 2020, but Cockrell said the delays were "primarily because of pandemic-related impacts on construction and everyone's ability to process work."

"It's a little behind schedule, but we're very excited to be open," Cockrell said. "I think it's a great benefit for the community and our existing patients and clients."

For eight years, the county provided needed community health services through the Sandy High School-based health center adjunct to the school district. Then last year those community services moved to the current home of the behavioral health clinic in the Frontier building on Pioneer Boulevard.

The clinic is poised to offer primary care, behavioral health services and dental services. At that time, primary care and behavioral health services currently located in the Frontier building on Pioneer Boulevard will move to the new facility.

"We're putting a lot into that small building," Cockrell said.

The center will offer care to those on the Oregon Health Plan or who are uninsured.

"We know from our data there is a substantial Medicaid population in the Sandy area, so we saw this was an opportunity to provide high-quality primary, behavioral and dental care (to an area in need)," Cockrell said in a previous interview.

"As a federally qualified health center, we do not refuse services based on someone's ability to pay. It makes a very low barrier to dental services. We really put the patient at the center of what we do. We expect the quality of care to be equal to what our family would receive," she said.

Once open, the Sandy center is expected to have 13 to 15 clinicians on staff, with one full-time primary care physician, one full-time dentist and one full-time hygienist to start.

"Having all of those services co-located will really help us integrate and make it about whole-person care," Cockrell said. "On the primary-care side we're building to grow. I think the community of Sandy will be pleased with what we have to offer there."

Hours are projected to be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"We do want to provide some after-hours access," Cockrell said. "We'll be considering offering Saturday services as well. We see (an increased need for health care) throughout the county. This is going to be a very beautiful building the community can be proud of."

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