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Essential Health Clinic discusses new business model during town hall event.

March 08, 2012

For immediate release
Contact:  Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654

At a town hall event on Tuesday, March 6, Sophia Tzeng, executive director of the Essential Health Clinic, announced plans to deliver additional free urgent and healthcare services to a growing number of uninsured people in Washington County. The plan will focus on growing community partnerships, financial support and volunteerism to enhance the sustainability of the organization. The clinic also announced the creation of a volunteer and community council to encourage volunteerism, leadership and expansion of its efforts within the community.

“The door to health should be open to everyone, Essential Health is that door,” Tzeng said of the clinic’s unique role in the community. Tuality Healthcare chief executive officer Dick Stenson presented a $20,000 donation to the clinic to further enhance the partnership between the two organizations and fund urgent care services.

Over the past 10 years, Tuality Healthcare has provided the Essential Health Clinic with $750,000 for laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, and executive and community support since it opened in October 2001. “It’s working really quite well after 10 years,” Stenson said of the partnership.

“It’s truly a partnership, it’s like the same trunk of a tree,” Tzeng said. “We were founded by a consortium of community partners of which Tuality was a central partner.”

Business and community leaders attending the town hall met in smaller groups to discuss the new ideas and provide feedback to clinic staff and volunteers. Audience members agreed on the importance of community partnerships and volunteer recruitment as critical to the organization’s sustainability model. “We don’t want to grow an organization that is independent of the community, what we want to do is grow an organization that is responsive to its needs,” Tzeng said.

The Essential Health Clinic faces a population of uninsured ranging between 85,000 to 140,000 residents in Washington County. Of this group, only 6,000 come to the clinic per year for urgent care services. The clinic wants to increase volunteer personnel to accommodate growing patient levels in Washington County. Currently, the Essential Health Clinic has offices in Tigard and Hillsboro and plans to expand to new locations throughout Washington County. The clinic will host a town hall meeting every three months to discuss progress measures and collaborate with community members regarding future planning.