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Who Puts a Thrift Store & Health Clinic at the Same Location? St. Vincent de Paul & Neighborcare
By: St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle/King County
According to Ned Delmore, Executive Director of SVdP, “having a medical clinic connected to a thrift store is an innovative model. Our work with Neighborcare Health has produced a community service center that will assist people with vital health and social service needs at one convenient location.”
The SVdP thrift store, a 12,000 square foot facility, underwent extensive remodeling work over the course of the past 18 months. During the remodeling work, the 2,000 square foot Neighborcare Health primary care clinic and SVdP case management offices, training and conference rooms were built and connected to the thrift store.
Now patients can easily walk out of the clinic to the thrift store while shoppers can also access the clinic through an easy access door that connects the two at the front of the building.
“We’re thrilled to partner with community partners like St. Vincent de Paul,” says Mark Secord, Executive Director of Neighborcare Health. “A community health center presence in a thrift store is our equivalent of clinics that have recently appeared in retail stores. Given our overlap in those we serve, it makes perfect sense.”
Neighborcare Health is Seattle’slargest provider of primary medical and dental care focused on low-income and uninsured families and individuals. Neighborcare Health serves more than 55,000 patients annually at its 26 non-profit medical, dental and school-based clinics, including Neighborcare Health at St. Vincent de Paul –Aurora which has been seeing patients since earlier this year.
SVdP Aurora store interior spaces were remodeled, with a special emphasis on improving the shopper and donor experience, e.g. donation intake area and the product processing center, both of which are in rear (west) area of the store. The store averages from 125 to 275 customers daily, depending on the day of the week and what kinds of sales are taking place. The SVdP thrift store has been increasing its business over the past few months, increasing its transactions on special sales days.
SVdP offers walk-in case management services on Fridays on the second floor of the primary clinic side of the facility. Case managers help people in the community get access to employment, housing, language, and education resources on an as needed basis. Hours for this service at Aurora are Fridays from 11 a. m to 3 p. m.
St. Vincent de Paul has seven of its 56 local neighborhood conferences within a few miles of the Aurora primary clinic, community social service center and thrift store. SVdP says its partnership with Neighborcare Health is part of a long-range plan to move services into its five thrift stores.
“This is the most revolutionary time in community health since the days when many clinics were founded in the late 1960’s,” adds Mark Secord. “With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act we have new opportunities to serve yet more of our neighbors, including those who remain uninsured and those with coverage seeking primary care.”
The SVdP strategy is to build upon the trusting relationships the volunteers establish with poor people in home visits, and then extend those relationships at into more social support services integrated and offered in its network of five neighborhood-
Delmore says SVdP and Neighborcare staff knows each other well and both organizations have been doing outreach to residential and business neighbors in the Aurora community and the reception has been positive.