Interfaith Health Center in Bellingham finishes expansion, to start on work to add pharmacy

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 1, 2013 

Executive Director Desmond Skubi of Interfaith Community Health Center in Bellingham in November 2012.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

BELLINGHAM - Interfaith Community Health Center is celebrating the expansion of its Unity Street clinic, which will allow it to serve more than 3,500 new patients.

"This represents, for us, a major expansion of our services," said Desmond Skubi, the center's executive director.

The interior of its building at 220 Unity St. was gutted and rebuilt to make room for more medical teams and patients. That part of the expansion will be celebrated during an open house Thursday, May. 9.

"The patients have so much more room. It was tight upstairs," said Hank Bledowski, Interfaith facilities manager as he walked through the renovated center last month.

Interfaith offers dental, medical and behavioral health care for low-income clients in the expanded clinic. Dawson Construction did the work.

Next up, a small building at 218 Unity St. will be turned into a new Interfaith pharmacy. Skubi hoped to have the pharmacy build completed by June 30.

The clinic expansion and construction of the pharmacy will cost a total of $3.15 million.

Money for the projects came from a $1.07 million federal grant and local support from St. Luke's Foundation, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Interfaith Coalition, Northwest Radiologists, and Whatcom Community Foundation.

"We really want people to see what their support has allowed us to create," Skubi said of the May open house.

He said the expansion will meet increasing need for Interfaith care.

"We have seen significant growth in demands for our services, really, since the onset of the recession," especially among those who are uninsured, Skubi said.

Skubi said there are few sources of primary care for people who don't have insurance, and being able to expand those services is important.

But the health center still needs to raise $236,000 to complete the work, and Skubi hopes the community will step in and donate those remaining dollars.


IF YOU GO

What: Celebration and open house for Interfaith Community Health Center's expansion.

When: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 9. A light breakfast and tours will be offered.

Where: Lower level conference room of the health center, 220 Unity St. in Bellingham.

RSVP: Gib Clarke at 360-788-2624 or Gib_Clarke@interfaithchc.org.

Donate: Interfaith Community Health Center is still seeking $236,000 for the expansion project. Donate by going online to interfaithchc.org.

Reach Kie Relyea at kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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