Two new school-based health clinics coming to Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, WA. - Two-new health clinics are coming to Pasco schools. They will treat students right inside the school..without the need to go elsewhere to a doctor. KEPR looks at the big changes coming thanks to Tri-Cities Community Health.

Anita Castellanos expects to take advantage of a new health clinic that will be at her daughter's school, Chiawana High. The mother of three knows it will offer new opportunities versus a traditional doctor's office.

"I know clinics can sometimes get backed up in appointments," said Anita Castellanos.

The clinic will be added thanks to a grant received by Tri-Cities Community Health. Half-a-million dollars will help build two health centers based in Pasco schools -- including the one at Chiawana -- and another at Ochoa Middle.

"Having these school based clinics is a good opportunity for people that sometimes don't know where to go or feel hospitals are too expensive," said Castellanos.

All students within the Pasco School District will be able to visit the clinics -- not just the kids who go to those schools.

"This is a way to provide easier access for children or students to access our services," said Tri-Cities Community Health CEO Al Cordova.

Those services range from immunizations to physicals to a place to diagnose the common cold.

"Our mission is to serve the under served, the under insured, and people without insurance," said Cordova.

No one will be turned away if they can't pay. The CEO sees the clinics' role as a safety net for the vulnerable. Much of the focus will be on preventative care. For parents, like Anita, she knows this isn't just about convenience, this is about taking care of our future.

"Puts me at ease because I know I have a place that's going to be there whenever they need medical attention," said Castellanos.

The clinic could be open by the start of the next school year. The grant money is coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Officials tell us they'd hope to expand the clinics in a few years using more grant money.