Communities thrive when people from all over come to work together. That’s the spirit behind the Seattle/King County Clinic. Once a year, Kaiser Permanente doctors and staff join thousands of other event volunteers in Key Arena at the Seattle Center. All donate their services to serve Puget Sound residents who are underserved or vulnerable. The homeless and working poor, immigrants, and veterans come from near and far to take advantage of this free clinic.
Kaiser Permanente (formerly as Group Health) is proud to have been a part of the event from its beginning in 2013. Every year, hundreds of our doctors, nurses, and employees volunteer over 4 days, providing dental, vision, and medical care. This year we’re also coordinating follow-up care between our ophthalmologists and individuals with eye issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and more. It’s all part of delivering quality health care to the communities we serve.
In 2016, the Clinic served people from 262 unique ZIP codes, speaking more than 30 languages, primarily from King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Medical conditions treated included high blood pressure, behavioral, hearing, dental, and vision issues, asthma, diabetes, and even heart disease.
A 66-year-old grandmother came for a mammogram. A mother and her daughter arrived at 3:30 a.m. to get in line for a pair of glasses. A former police officer who lost everything during Hurricane Katrina came to see a foot doctor and acupuncturist. An electrician from Gambia, who had a number of teeth extracted, summed the experience up best: “This clinic is a blessing,” he said.
“Last year Key Arena was filled with thousands of hard-working people who just couldn’t afford the health services they needed,” said Kim Demacedo, a Kaiser Permanente volunteer at the event. “People came back day after day and patiently waited for hours to receive care. And they were so grateful for this clinic. It was a privilege to be involved in this wonderful community event.”
This year the clinic runs from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29. For more information, visit the Seattle/King County Clinic website.
Photo by Auston James