MATTAWA — Leo Gaeta, vice president of programs at Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) and Carlos Ruiz, site director for the Wahluke CBHA clinic, gave some clinic information during a Mattawa City Council meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7.
Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) started in 1939 and has grown to three sites in Othello, Mattawa and Connell. In 2018, CBHA, as a whole, had 36,000 patients, 28,000 of them being from a Hispanic background and 55 percent preferring a language other than English.
“Half indicate that they make a living in agriculture,” Gaeta said.
To make medical care easier for its patients, CBHA has developed a one stop shop model of care, according to Gaeta. They offer a wide range of services in one building, including medical, dental and eye care, maternity support, WIC, pharmacy, lab and behavioral health.
Of their clients, around 16,000 are covered by Medicaid. Uninsured patients number roughly 9,600, while only 2,300 patients are on Medicare plans. Gaeta pointed out that they mainly serve a younger population.
Ruiz told the council that the Wahluke Clinic makes a special effort to connect to the community.
“We have partnerships with the school district and the chamber,” Ruiz said. “We strive to be involved in the community.”
Ruiz said that a lot of his staff live in Mattawa.
“They’re home grown,” Ruiz said. “They mostly came up at Wahluke High School. They’re here for the long haul.”
Ruiz commented that he also lives in the local area.
One of the challenges that the CBHA Wahluke Clinic has seen over the years is space.
“Parking becomes a challenge for us,” Gaeta said.
The clinic is doing research into how they can find additional parking. They are also looking at other services they can bring in and where they could house them.
“One of our goals is to address the therapy needs of our community,” Gaeta said.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.