Seattle/King County Clinic returns for a fifth year to KeyArena at Seattle Center with free dental, medical and eye care services for those who struggle to access or afford health care. It will be held Sept. 20-23, one month earlier than previous years.
The largest event of its kind in the State of Washington, Seattle/King County Clinic brings together over 100 healthcare organizations, civic agencies, nonprofit entities, private businesses and thousands of volunteers to help underserved and vulnerable populations with a goal of helping 4,000 people over the four-day period. Over the past four years, the Clinic has cared for 11,900 patients and provided $14 million in services.
“We’re hearing from the community that people of all backgrounds and circumstances have to make choices between housing, food and healthcare,” said Seattle/King County Clinic Director Julia Colson. “Amid the current affordability crisis in our region, the Clinic provides needed support, now more than ever.”
Statistics from previous years show that many patients who come to the Clinic do not have health insurance (49%), are unemployed (34%), and more than 60% are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. They come from all over the region, representing 262 unique zip codes and speaking 51 primary languages. Patients are parents, children, elders, veterans, immigrants, refugees, people living homeless and, in large part, wage-earners who struggle with the high cost of living.
As one patient last year stated, “We are the working poor, and the financial burden of medical care in America is prohibitive. Even for those of us working full-time with very basic health insurance, there are services I need that I can’t afford.”
Here is how Seattle/King County Clinic works:
- Clinic patients receive treatment on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Patients may park free of charge at two Seattle Center facilities, 1st Ave North and Mercer Street Parking Garages, on each day of the Clinic.
- A giant heated tent on the roof of Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, located at the corner of 2nd Ave North and Thomas Street, serves as the ticket waiting and distribution area. Organizers distribute free admission tickets for the day beginning at 5 a.m. Tickets are limited.
- Doors to KeyArena open at 6:30 a.m. Patients are admitted by ticket number into the Clinic.
- Patients register as they enter. They do not need to show identification or proof of immigration status. Services are not limited to residents of Seattle and King County.
- Inside KeyArena, all procedures and services are provided free of charge, and interpretation services are available for those who need them.
- Patients cannot receive both dental and eye care in one day. They may return to the Clinic on other days for additional services.
Seattle/King County Clinic transforms the form and function of KeyArena. The licensed healthcare professionals and general support volunteers who staff it donate their time and expertise. Patients receive real, and in many instances, extensive care including dental fillings and extractions, eye examinations, physicals, behavioral healthcare and social work, prescription eyeglasses, immunizations, laboratory tests, mammograms, ultrasounds and x-rays and much more. Additional information is available at: seattlecenter.org/patients.
Seattle/King County Clinic is made possible through thousands of donated work hours as well as cash and in-kind contributions. Donations are accepted at: seattecenter.org. Healthcare professionals and general support volunteers may sign up for a variety of work shifts through an online registration system at: seattlecenter.org/volunteers.
“Seattle/King County Clinic is a beacon of caring and generosity,” says Christine Lindquist, Executive Director of Washington Healthcare Access Alliance. “It provides immediate dental, vision and medical care, and connects patients to resources beyond the clinic walls. It also raises awareness about who is left out of the current healthcare system and demonstrates the good we can accomplish when we work together as diverse partners to serve others and affect change.
Learn more about Seattle/King County Clinic at seattlecenter.org/skcclinic or by calling 206-684-7200.