Ellensburg Community Health expands with influx of patients


    ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- The only federally licensed health center in Kittitas County has seen big changes, including expansion and extended hours. But that's just the start for Community Health in Ellensburg.

    "I've been here three years now and I've seen our clinic just explode with growth, " said Community Health family physician Micahlyn Powers, M.D.

    These days, Dr. Powers sees nearly double the patients - about 24 a day. She's one of 11 physicians, six residents, and more than 40 employees making the rounds at Community Health.

    And in eight short years the clinic has seen a surge where now up to 200 people walk through the door each day.

    "The population we serve here is really broad," said Dr. Powers. "It's anywhere from newborns to pregnant gals to the elderly."

    A scope of services including child wellness, cardiac health, and the WIC program contributes to an influx of appointments.

    With 30,000 patients and 110,000 visits per year, it's meant extending clinic and pharmacy hours and expanding the pharmacy space and staff.

    "We are pretty much a one-stop shop for a lot of patients in Kittitas County," said clinic manager Julia Romanelli.

    Patients that will find even more services just steps away. Funding from a grant has allowed Community Health to purchase a property next door for their new dental clinic.

    The $1 million grant covers about 35 percent of construction costs, and the rest will be covered by Community Health of Central Washington.

    "We continue to accept more and more patients and we decided at one point there just wasn't enough room," said Romanelli.

    But the clinic's approach has come full circle - reinvesting money from insurance providers, and uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale, to fund the new changes.

    "It's been really great; patients have been happy with it," said Dr. Powers.

    A three-year plan is in the works for the new dental clinic.

    Group doctor visits for patients with the same health issue have also started and will be fully implemented in the next six months.

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