KENNEWICK -- Grace Clinic can offer more dental care and counseling sessions now that it's moved into a larger Kennewick facility.
The nonprofit medical clinic's new doors opened Oct. 4 at 800 W. Canal Drive. The building is the former site of the Benton Franklin Health District.
Mark Brault, president of the clinic's board, said they still are settling in and putting things away, but uninsured Tri-Citians in need of health care are welcome to come in.
The clinic -- which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in June -- provides medical, dental, counseling and pharmacy services to low-income people.
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Grace Clinic was on West Clearwater Avenue for six years. It negotiated with the health district to lease the Canal Drive building to expand and accommodate more patients and offer more services.
The clinic is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The majority of patients are walk-ins, though the clinic does schedule appointments for dental care and follow-up visits.
Brault said he is recruiting new volunteers to help with the increasing demand for their services.
In 2011, Grace Clinic saw 1,600 people for a total 6,200 patient visits, and that was all done on 22,000 volunteer hours, he said. The total for patient visits this year is expected to top 6,800 or 6,900.
"Some people we see one time, but we also have a substantial number of people who have a chronic condition like diabetes who we see on an ongoing basis," Brault said.
The new location is 10,000 square feet, almost 3,000 more than the old space. A zoning issue delayed the remodel, but the clinic was able to get a building permit from the city of Kennewick and push forward with work.
Patients will see the greatest expansion in the dental program, with four dental chairs now instead of the previous two, and in the counseling program with more offices, Brault said. The clinic expects to add vision care services to its offerings in the not-too-distant future because of the extra space, he said.
"We did substantial remodeling to the facility and it's turned out very nice. It gives us the ability to expand some things that we're doing," Brault told the Herald. "But the other significant benefit is that our rent with the health district is paid in in-kind services, so we'll be able to take the rent that we've been paying and turn that into taking care of more people."
Rent at the old facility was about $68,000 a year. And even though most of the contractors on the remodel discounted their services, while some labor and materials were donated, Brault said they do have bills to pay before the clinic will get the full benefit of saving their rent money.
Since the clinic has been planning this move for some time, it started informing patients well in advance so they'd be aware of the new location, he said. They also put up signs and handed out fliers to advertise the move.
The clinic was closed for three business days while people helped load up the equipment and supplies and deliver them to the new site, Brault said. He credits the community with making the expansion happen.
"This clinic exists because of the support we get out of the community, both in terms of our funding and our volunteers," he said.