People who struggle to access and/or afford dental, medical and eye care services may receive them free of charge at the largest free health clinic ever organized in the State of Washington, Seattle/King County Clinic, Oct. 26-29, in KeyArena at Seattle Center.
Organizers of this extraordinary undertaking expect to help 4,000 people over the four-day period this year. Now in its fourth year, Seattle/King County Clinic brings together over 100 health care organizations, civic agencies, nonprofit entities, private businesses, and thousands of volunteers to help underserved and vulnerable populations.
Over the past three years, the Clinic has cared for 11,900 patients and provided over $10 million in services. Statistics show patients come to the Clinic from 262 unique zip codes and speak 37 primary languages. Many who seek services (47%) do not have health insurance, are unemployed (49%) or classified as the working poor; and more than 60% of patients are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Here is how the 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 Garage and Mercer Street Parking Garage, on each day of the Clinic.
- Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, located on the grounds 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.
- Inside KeyArena, all procedures and services are provided free of charge, and interpretation services are available for those who need them.
- Patients may receive services in two areas on each day, however, they 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 health care 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, comprehensive eye exams and free prescription eyeglasses, physical exams, PAP smears, mammograms, EKGs, x-rays, lab tests, vaccinations, foot care, acupuncture, 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. Health care professionals and general support volunteers may sign up for a variety of work shifts through an online registration system at: www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers.
Organizing and implementing an event on this scale represents the serious dedication of a caring community to make a difference for the most vulnerable among us. By meeting immediate health care needs and providing connections for ongoing care, the community partners involved hope that this event will positively impact the health of the region and raise awareness of the scale of those left out of the current health care system. Learn more about Seattle/King County Clinic at: seattlecenter.org or by calling 206-684-7200.