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Hospital district opens new clinic in Fall City

FALL CITY - For Patti Yetneberk, being part of opening a new clinic in Fall City is more of a homecoming than a new business venture.

Yetneberk, a nurse practitioner, ran the Fall City Family Clinic from 1994-1999. Although she later practiced in North Bend and has worked out of Snoqualmie since 2003, she kept a lot of her patients from the Fall City area. She has always wanted to get back to Fall City to practice and now has the means to do so.

"It made sense for me to move into that position," she said.

The new clinic, located upstairs from the Rockwell Hammond dental office at 33428 Redmond-Fall City Road, is the latest step in what is now a growing King County Public Hospital District No. 4. The district, which has the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital in Snoqualmie as its flagship facility, has opened clinics in North Bend and now Fall City this year and is working on plans for an additional location in Maple Valley. Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Administrator Rodger McCollum said that Maple Valley, while not in the hospital district's coverage area, is sort of in between other public hospital districts and would be an ideal service area for the district's expanding mindset.

"It [Maple Valley] is a growing community," he said.

He said the North Bend clinic, which opened in January, grows a little more each week. The new clinics will add to an expanding list of services that the district is trying to procure. The hospital has new surgery bays and is trying to get a surgeon group to come to the campus for general surgeries. The district is also working on getting an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) to come to the hospital, although expectant mothers will still have to travel out of the Valley to have babies.

While Yetneberk has always worked close to the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital (her Snoqualmie location is on the same campus as the hospital), the new Fall City clinic is as involved as she has ever been. Last fall Yetneberk's practice, Kimball Creek Clinic, along with fellow hospital campus-based practice Valley View Family Medicine, entered a service agreement with the hospital district. Under the agreement, the hospital district covered some of the administrative costs for the clinics, an offer the district has been making to share costs and build relationships with providers in the Valley.

The experience made Yetneberk familiar with the new administration of the hospital district, which changed about a year ago. She has since become a hospital district employee, although Valley View Family Medicine remains a separate operation.

"It's a great arrangement," Yetneberk said. "It's so much better if someone can do the whole administrative end to it."

Yetneberk will be at the Fall City clinic four days a week but will come back up to the Snoqualmie campus once a week for patients who don't want to make the trip. In addition to expanding its geographic service area, the hospital district would also like to expand its patient base. Physician's assistant Hector Camacho will be on Yetneberk's staff in Fall City. Camacho, who grew up in Mexico where he was a doctor, said his language and cultural skills will help serve a noticeable Latin American patient base in the Valley.

"We wanted to welcome patients who are Spanish speaking," he said.

Kevin Hauglie, a hospital district commissioner who lives in Fall City, said the clinics, along with the other services the district offers, should help the district become more solvent.

"It [Fall City clinic] has the ability to contribute to the bottom line," he said.

There is still some work to be done on the Fall City clinic before it opens next week and its present location may only be temporary. But Yetneberk said the hospital district, and its staff, have the resolve to not only turn a financial corner but have a new attitude, as well. After some financial trouble in past years for the hospital district, she said the present commissioners and administrators have helped get the district out of its contracted mode into a more expansive mode. She said it is something she and other health care providers in the Valley have been waiting for.

"It's an exciting mode to be in. It is something we have been hoping for for a long time," she said. "To me, there has been a commitment to local health care services and to make relationships with local providers to develop those services."

Editor Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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