Grace Clinic celebrates new home in Kennewick

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldNovember 15, 2012 

Grace Clinic started 10 years ago in the basement of a Pasco church.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit clinic welcomed community members during an open house at its new 10,000-square-foot home on West Canal Drive in Kennewick.

"This is a great thing for the community," said Mark Brault, president of the clinic's board, during a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. "This is a great opportunity for us to meet the needs of more people."

The clinic provides medical and dental care and other services -- from counseling to a food bank -- to low-income, uninsured people in Benton and Franklin counties. It's logged more than 36,000 patient visits since 2002.

The clinic most recently was operating out of leased space on West Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick. The newly remodeled Canal Drive building used to hold the Benton Franklin Health District. Under the clinic's lease with the health district, rent payments will be made in in-kind services -- freeing up more money for patient care, officials said.

The clinic relies on grants and donations to keep the doors open. It has a staff of six full-time and part-time workers, and a network of more than 200 active volunteers.

The new location is about 3,000 square feet larger than the previous space, and clinic leaders have added more dental chairs and counseling rooms. They also expect to begin offering some vision services next year.

Dozens of people packed into the lobby Wednesday afternoon to tour the remodeled space and celebrate the opening.

"I think it's marvelous," Jerry Cargo of Pasco said of the new location, as he stood in the food bank area where he volunteers.

"It's necessary," he added. "I'm surprised at how many young families there are coming in, that don't have insurance."

Jean Murrow, clinic director, said most patients who come through have jobs, but not benefits. The average patient is a 44-year-old employed white woman, the clinic's website says.

Grace Clinic opened in its Canal Drive location last month.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com

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