Southwest Portland’s health clinic for people who are low-income and uninsured will close after nearly 15 years.
The Southwest Community Health Center will start to transition patients to Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center this month. Leaders from both organizations hope to finish the hand-off by the end of November.
Virginia Garcia staff will start to work at the Southwest Portland clinic, referring patients and helping them sign up for Medicaid, if possible.
“The changing nature of the health care landscape has made it necessary for us to find a more permanent and comprehensive primary care option for our patients,” said Samira Godil, executive director of Southwest Community. “Our patients deserve access to services beyond medical visits, including dental, mental health, pharmacy, and vision. Virginia Garcia has the resources available to provide this expansive care.”
Southwest Community, which operates two clinics, is unusual in that most of its budget comes from community and foundation donors. It doesn’t seek reimbursement for treatment from the federal government or other insurers because its patients don’t qualify.
The Multnomah Village clinic will close, and most patients will likely transfer to Virginia Garcia’s Beaverton Wellness Center. About 70 percent of the clinic’s patients are members of an ethnic minority, and many don’t speak English. Some are living in the country without documentation, which limits their access to health insurance.
It has served more than 7,000 patients since 2005 at the Multnomah Village location.
No one is turned away for inability to pay. Patients are handed envelopes for donations — the average of which is $7.
The Southwest Community Health Center runs on volunteer doctors — about 110, who work at Oregon Health & Science University, Legacy and Providence health systems. The six administrators are all part-time employees.
Southwest Community Health Center was a 2017 beneficiary of The Oregonian/OregonLive’s annual Season of Sharing holiday fundraising campaign.
— Molly Harbarger
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