Public invited to grand opening of Richland health center

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldAugust 27, 2013 

Dr. Shruti Aggarwal, right, talks to staff members (from left) Lisa Gil, Misti Ruddell and Rosalinda Giannini at the new Tri-Cities Community Health clinic at 829 Goethals in Richland.

RICHARD DICKIN — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Tri-Cities Community Health is holding a celebration this week to mark the opening of its new Richland health center. The facility on Goethals Drive is the nonprofit health agency's second new space to debut this year.

Community Health also moved its Kennewick health center to a larger facility on West Clearwater Avenue about six months ago.

"Now we're serving the entire community," said Dr. John Intravartolo, part of the agency's board of directors. "We're Tri-City wide."

The Richland health center is at 829 Goethals Drive, not far from Kadlec Regional Medical Center. The 6,000-square-foot facility has four rooms for behavioral health services, three for the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, program services and nine medical exam rooms.

Two family medicine providers currently are seeing patients at the clinic, and officials said the plan is to add pediatrics and obstetrics as well.

A grand opening ceremony is set for 11 a.m. Thursday. Tours will be available.

The Richland facility isn't new construction; Tri-Cities Community Health is leasing the building, which underwent a roughly $350,000 remodel.

"We were looking to come to Richland, and when we found this space we knew that we could come in and gut the entire building and design it the way that it needed to be designed for optimal patient flow and to get a footprint here in Richland," said Michael Adams, chief operations officer. "This was a great opportunity for us to get started out here. We seized that opportunity and here we are."

Community Health will receive $650,000 annually in federal money to help operate the Richland health center, with the total operations costs for the facility coming to about $1.8 million, said Al Cordova, Community Health CEO.

The nonprofit agency, which is based in Pasco, provides patient care in areas ranging from family practice, pediatrics and OB/GYN to behavioral health, pharmacy, detoxification and dental.

It serves patients regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, more than 21,000 patients were served, with about 38 percent uninsured.

The health agency didn't have a presence in Richland until recently. The new health center opened temporarily in rented space at Gage Boulevard and Leslie Road last fall before moving into the Goethals building in late July.

Community Health officials said there's a need in Richland and the surrounding area, noting that more than 42,000 people in Benton County fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This year, 200 percent of the poverty level is $47,100 in annual income for a family of four.

Adams and Dr. Shruti Aggarwal, a family medicine physician who's seeing patients at the new Richland health center, recently gave a tour of the space -- the exam rooms, the offices, the open lobby and bright colors.

Aggarwal noted that the Richland facility already is drawing a good number of patients ahead the public grand opening.

"They are really happy with the good job. They want to be here and be seen here," she said.

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

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