Poulsbo health clinic set to close

BREMERTON — Unlike the Kitsap County Health District’s El Centro de Familia, which was rescued from the cutting room floor, the Poulsbo Health District clinic is set to close on Oct. 15.

“We cannot keep the clinic open for another month because we’ll run into cash flow problems,” KCHD director Scott Lindquist told the health district’s board recently.

Because the Poulsbo clinic is open only two days a week and provides family planning services on one day and immunizations on another, the cost of paying the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority rent is financially unfeasible, he said.

Only one to five people a week utilize the family planning services, although the immunization clinic has a higher usage rate, Lindquist said. However, that is not enough to justify keeping the clinic open.

North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer said his recollection from the board’s August meeting was that the health district staff would return with a plan to continuing those services to the North End.

“Somehow or where services are going to continue,” Bauer said.

Lindquist said one possibility is to station the clinic’s two public health nurses at the Olympic College-Poulsbo campus or possibly in city hall.

“We just need a space and we can work out a deal with someone,” he said.

As far as the lease with the KCCHA is concerned, Lindquist said KCCHA executive director Norm McLaughlin informed him that there is already a tenant waiting to lease the building once the health district vacates.

“I would go back to the renter and try to come up with a sublease for the public health nurses,” he said.

With that in mind, Lindquist asked the board to decide on a closing date for the Poulsbo clinic, so the health district staff could implement a transition plan for those services.

Bremerton City Councilwoman Wendy Priest said she didn’t want to be insensitive to Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade’s request to delay the decision until the board’s October meeting, but something had to be done.

“This conversation has been going on for a year or two or maybe longer,” Priest said. “If there’s a real cash flow problem, we need to make a board decision and I would support making a decision.”

Linquist said such a decision would “put me between a rock and a hard place.”

“If we prepare to close things down and if I find a solution we can reverse it,” he said.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel proposed making the closure date Oct. 15 to avoid having a special board meeting on the issue.

“It will give Dr. Lindquist, Commissioner Bauer and Mayor Quade time to work and see if there are other alternatives and we could take action at that time,” Angel said. “If we can put out an SOS, then the community might come up with what we need.”

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