New administrator, nurse, behavioral health provider at clinic

Jeff Keitges will be the new clinic administrator for Vashon’s Neighborcare clinic starting Monday. (Courtesy Photo)

Jeff Keitges will be the new clinic administrator for Vashon’s Neighborcare clinic starting Monday. (Courtesy Photo)

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of Neighborcare’s Vashon clinic and ushering in the milestone will be a new clinic administrator.

Vashon’s current administrator, Stephanie Keller, has been administrator since December, but has been selected to head the organization’s new school-based clinic that will open at Vashon High School next month. Taking her place at the Sunrise Ridge clinic is Jeff Keitges, a longtime Neighborcare employee who is currently the administrator at Neighborcare’s Lake City clinic.

“We don’t want islanders to panic with a management change, I’m going to be literally around the corner and still part of the Neighborcare system,” Keller said.

Joining Keitges at the Vashon clinic is Meghan Young Bergeron, an advanced registered nurse practitioner brought on with the intent to provide same-day services, and Remony Henry, an islander and licensed independent clinical social worker. Both women were hired to expand the services Neighborcare can offer islanders.

“Megan was hired just to do same-day services. Since we’ve had her on board and we’ve done a little reorganization of space here at the clinic, we have improved the ability for patients to make appointments both same-day and ahead of time,” Keller said. “We have open slots now which is something we haven’t had since we opened.”

She said that islanders should start thinking of the clinic as a place to go for same-day needs (common illnesses, minor injuries and broken bone diagnoses), but should still call 911 for serious conditions such as chest pain or severe injuries. She said there will be a sandwich board out on the highway in front of the clinic on days when same-day appointments are available.

Meanwhile, Henry offers a variety of services from addiction recovery to sleep and lifestyle changes, as well as helping patients cope with medical conditions or caregiver burnout — something Keller says she sees a lot of at the Vashon clinic. Islanders can book an appointment or be referred by a doctor in the clinic.

“If a doctor is with a patient and they’re saying that they’re depressed or really stressed out or anxious, they can do what we call a ‘warm handoff’ to behavioral services,” Keller said.

The clinic is also making islanders aware of its osteopathic physician, Dr. Scott Chaffin, who practices osteopathic manipulative treatment — using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Keller said he is able to provide this type of treatment to patients whose insurance would normally prevent them from receiving services such as those from a chiropractor.

“The general message is we’re plugging along and improving the issues we had when we opened,” Keller said, referring to the clinic’s initial inability to offer a wide range of services to islanders. Last year, the clinic’s providers were overwhelmed and same-day appointments have been impossible until recently.

“We’re responding pretty quickly to the needs of the island,” Keller said. “On top of that, the school-based clinic will help improve access. It’s a win-win for the island.”

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