Next year should see the arrival of a new school-based health center for Quilcene.
Overwhelmingly positive response from the public prompted the Quilcene School Board to vote unanimously on Oct. 16 in favor of implementing the medical clinic, which is set to be housed in remodeled elementary school classrooms, and staffed by a nurse practitioner provided by Jefferson County Public Health.
Because of how long they estimate it will take to hire the nurse practitioner and set up the clinic rooms, officials expect it to open no earlier than January of 2020, with funds coming from Jefferson County Public Health and Jefferson Healthcare.
Although the family insurance of the students who receive medical treatment on campus is expected to serve as another source of funding, uninsured students can expect to receive assistance in signing up for Apple Health, or making other arrangements if necessary.
The Quilcene School Board’s Oct. 16 decision was preceded by a series of seven public meetings on the proposed clinic, one in August and six more in September, in locations extending from Quilcene to Coyle, during which representatives of the Quilcene School District, Jefferson County Public Health and Jefferson Healthcare answered questions from parents and other community members.
The Quilcene School District also solicited the input of its students and parents, through a survey that Jefferson County Public Health nurse Marjorie Boyd reported had received 86 responses. While five indicated the students would not be using the clinic, the remaining 81 were positive toward the implementation of the clinic.
The Quilcene School-Based Health Center is slated to operate eight hours a week, over the course of one to two days per week, in the elementary school building on the Quilcene school campus.
While the clinic is primarily intended for Quilcene K-12 students, Quilcene Superintendent Frank Redmon has opened the door to the possibility of Brinnon students using it, depending on their degree of need and other factors.
The addition of primary medical care augments the Quilcene school campus’ existing mental health services and puts it on par with similar school-based centers that have already been established in Chimacum and Port Townsend schools.