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Harborview Clinics To Stay Open

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.

Harborview Medical Center said Wednesday it will not be closing its primary care clinics after all.

Last December, the hospital had announced its intent to relocate those services into the community. But the prospect of shutting down the clinics located at Harborview's main hospital disturbed many staff and patients.

The clinics see more than 2,000 patients a year, many of whom are uninsured or on Medicaid.

Staff and the union representing nurses and other health workers voiced their objections. A rally had been planned for the board of trustees meeting Thursday. But on Wednesday, management sent a memo to staff confirming the clinics would stay open.

"It's great news," said Kimela Vigil, a social worker at the Harborview women's clinic. 

She said the downtown clinics are unique. "We have cultural case managers. We have interpreters from the community. We have nurses and social workers and nutritionists who are very sensitive to the issues we deal with like human trafficking, refugee conditions, trauma, personal trauma."