LETTER: There are too many barriers to care at clinic

Recently, The Beachcomber ran an article about the Neighborcare Clinic, in which the CEO said financial support would be needed from the community.

What is the patient’s side of this story? What are Neighborcare’s policies that create barriers to accessing services?

The phone number on their web page does not take us to a dedicated appointment line. This may sound small, but it is a barrier especially for at-risk patients.

The second barrier is the lack of same-day appointments. Apparently, they hold a lottery at 8 a.m., and if you are lucky enough to get on the call-in list early enough, you can get a same-day appointment. Other islanders have told me those appointments are filled by five minutes after eight. This is totally unacceptable for people who need same-day care.

The third barrier that really tells clients they don’t want our business is their refusal to tell patients who cannot get an appointment what to do. They need to say, “We don’t have any same-day appointments. If you must see a doctor today, we recommend that you visit one of the urgent care centers in West Seattle or Ruston.” Someone who’s been going to the clinic at Sunrise Ridge for 35 years isn’t going to figure this one out on their own; however, we can learn urgent care centers are the new protocol if someone tells us.

The fourth barrier is a lack of appointments in the near future. Next-day appointments are available only through the 8 a.m. lottery system. Theoretically, a person could try for days and not get an appointment.

We don’t want to travel off-island for our medical needs, but we don’t have a choice.

— Delinda McCann

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