“Many of our patients are homeless and feel invisible,” says Neighborcare Health clinic manager Zandra Lee. “When they come to our clinic, they feel respected, valued, and that this is their home.”
Patients served by Neighborcare Health at Pike Place Market are primarily older adults dealing with multiple barriers to accessing the health care they need. Many clinic patients are also struggling with housing stability, mental and behavioral health issues, substance abuse and have had a lifetime of trying to manage illnesses without regular access to medical care. Last year, Neighborcare Health at Pike Place Market served 4,587 patients through 29,133 appointments. This includes both visits in the clinic, as well as through outreach visits from the Housing Health Outreach Team and Reach program – where medical staff visit and serve patients in low-income housing.
68% of clinic patients live below the Federal Poverty Level ($12,060/year for an individual) and more than 1,563 patients reported being homeless or recently homeless. More than 45% of patients are people of color. One of the biggest successes seen at the clinic last year was the growth in providers able to administer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for patients struggling with opioid use disorder. This is particularly important because downtown Seattle has a death rate from opioids that is three times the rate for King County as a whole. Neighborcare’s biggest challenge next year will be helping patients navigate the changing landscape of health care and services in Seattle as the cost of living continues to grow while their income levels are unable to keep pace. A priority for the coming year is to strengthen resources to overcome barriers in connecting with new patients and integrating them into regular schedules of care.