By Dean Brickey
Coquille Valley Hospital has acquired the former Umpqua Bank building in Myrtle Point and plans to open it as a clinic and wellness center, following a remodel.
Jeff Lang, chief executive officer of Coquille Valley Hospital, said the vacant bank building at 345 Eighth St. has a number of advantages.
“It’s a wonderful location,” Lang said, adding that it has great parking, and the building’s layout is ideal for converting to a medical clinic because the offices around the main area are the perfect size for examination rooms.
Linda Maxon, chief development officer at the Coquille hospital, said the remodel is currently underway and she expects the clinic to open within a few months.
“Our hope is to have the clinic open this spring,” Maxon said, adding that the structure of the building is in good condition and in a great spot for a healthcare clinic.
“It’s centrally located and is across the street from public transportation stops,” she said. “It will provide good access for the outlying communities, such as Powers, Bridge, Dora, Sitkum and Fairview.”
The hospital’s 2021 community health needs assessment revealed the need for more services that the Coquille campus just can’t accommodate, Lang explained.
Specifically, Maxon said, the assessment showed a need for access to primary care, particularly a strong, stable team of medical professionals. It also indicated a need for mental and behavioral health services, substance use disorder support, as well as care and protection for youth and vulnerable populations, she said.
That information resulted in the hospital hiring more providers and searching for a clinic site in Myrtle Point, Lang said.
“If we’re going to address those issues, we need to increase our space,” he said. “It just made sense to bring services to the patients instead of bringing the patients to us.”
Everything fell into place, Lang added. “We had the providers hired before we found the location.”
The first two providers who will see patients at the Myrtle Point clinic are Dr. Heidi Hanst, who has been practicing in Coos and Curry counties for the past year, and Linda Bono, a board-certified family nurse practitioner who’s had an established practice in Curry County for the past two years.
In addition, the clinic will have a full-time, licensed clinical social worker and a community health worker, as well as other staff.
“It’s not just a doctor’s office,” Lang said. “It’s a center of wellness to support the community’s needs.”
Maxon added, “We want people to come to the clinic if they need help with behavioral health or addiction services, in addition to their general primary care needs.”
“Sometimes people don’t know where to go to get help,” Lang said, adding that the Myrtle Point clinic staff either will either help them or steer them to partner agencies to get the help they need.
The wellness center is an economic investment in the community, Maxon added, providing six to seven family-wage jobs with benefits. “That trickles into the community,” she said, adding that the clinic’s staff also will benefit Myrtle Point businesses and support other institutions, such as senior services and Head Start.
To guide the future of the Myrtle Point clinic, Maxon said, the hospital intends to develop a local advisory committee to ensure that the needs of the community are being met by a compassionate group of medical professionals.
“Patients will have a team of people to help them,” Maxon said.