The full clinic returns April 27-30 at Seattle Center
Seattle, WA –Seattle/King County Clinic, one of the most significant free healthcare events in the Pacific Northwest, is returning to Seattle Center for its eighth year on April 27 – 30. The first full Clinic since the pandemic will provide free dental, medical, and vision care to people in need.
This year’s Clinic will feature a roster of local healthcare providers and general support volunteers, including dentists, physicians, optometrists, nurses, dental hygienists, and other healthcare professionals. They will work together to provide free services, such as dental fillings and extractions, physical exams, diagnostic tests, eye exams, and prescription eyeglasses.
“Since the pandemic, we have seen decreased capacity in the healthcare system, creating additional barriers to care for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable. In addition, with the end to the public health emergency declaration, many low-income patients will be disenrolled from Medicaid,” says Julia Colson, Seattle/King County Clinic Project Director. “The Clinic will help bridge this gap in access to care. Plus, patients will have the opportunity to meet with onsite social workers to get connected with healthcare resources in their communities such as free clinics, rural health clinics and community health centers.”
Led by Seattle Center and Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle/King County Clinic brings together healthcare organizations, civic agencies, nonprofits, and private businesses to transform Seattle Center facilities into a healthcare operation. Licensed healthcare professionals and general support volunteers donate their time and expertise intending to help 3,000 people in need during the four-day period.
The Clinic is open to people in need regardless of insurance, income, or immigration status. Patients do not need to reside in Seattle or King County. All services are provided on a first come, first-served basis.
As in previous years, organizers will distribute free admission tickets each morning to patients. Once the clinic opens, patients are escorted to the service facilities and admitted by ticket number to be registered and receive free healthcare. Face masks are required for those coming to the clinic, and any potential patients who are sick are asked not to attend.
In 2022, Seattle/King County Clinic, a vision-only clinic, provided free eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to more than 1,000 people in need – the first services the Clinic offered since the pandemic hiatus. Patients across the region represented more than 127 unique zip codes and spoke 30 primary languages. Patients were families, elders, veterans, immigrants, refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and, in large part, wage earners who struggle with the high cost of living.
Since 2014 the Seattle/King County Clinic has served more than 24,000 patients and provided more than $20 million in direct services. “Seattle/King County Clinic meets patients with compassion and respect. It provides vitally needed, barrier-free healthcare services that are otherwise inaccessible,” explains Christine Lindquist, Executive Director of Washington Healthcare Access Alliance. “The Clinic represents the best of what any community can be in terms of a wide range of partners and volunteers coming together to address immediate needs. Exposure as a participant is both rewarding and enlightening and allows us to better understand the breadth of inequity in our current system.”
Clinic organizers still need additional dental, medical, and eye care professionals, social workers, health insurance navigators, interpreters, and general support volunteers to fill a range of volunteer functions and shifts. They also seek volunteers in early June to help dispense the prescription eyeglasses that are ordered during the Clinic. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Individuals may register at seattlecenter.org/volunteers.
For more information about the 2023 Seattle/King County Clinic, including how to donate, please visit https://seattlecenter.org/skcclinic/