This month, Battle Ground HealthCare opened a new location on 1910 SW Ninth Ave. in Battle Ground.
The clinic was started in 2011 by Ruthie Gohl, of the Meadow Glade Seventh Day Adventist, with a mission to “serve the needs of the community with a health focus,” according to Executive Director Sue Neal.
BGHC is a “faith-based clinic” where the staff believes in “whole-person care.” While being religious is not a requirement to receive care at the clinic, Neal said that people’s spiritual beliefs are important to their health and wellness.
“We provide medical (care), and our scope with medical is illness, wellness, prevention and the management of chronic conditions,” Neal said. “And we have physical rehab, where we have physical therapy and occupational therapy. We have had chiropractic and medical massage, but since the pandemic, we don’t have that. We are hoping to get them back once the pandemic is over.”
Neal said the clinic also features health and lifestyle classes, which are part of their prevention and wellness sector. It includes a three-week diabetes prevention program, which is offered in English and Spanish. The program educates people on how to eat and cook healthier to lessen the chances of developing the disease, and also focuses on exercise and maintaining a more enriching lifestyle.
There’s also a nine-week chronic pain course which Neal said won’t cure it, but it can make the condition more manageable by “providing more knowledge and tools to help manage their activities of daily living and live a higher quality of life.”
All of the classes are currently being held in a virtual format and are done with the collaboration of the Washington State University extension program.
BGHC also provides dental care, which includes cleanings, fillings and extractions.
Neal said the clinic plans to provide mental health care as well, but she said they need providers. They are also planning to provide a vaccine clinic and lab work.
BGHC has 127 active volunteers, many of whom are part-time licensed physicians, therapists, dentists and nurses. Neal said they often volunteer on their days off or come in to help once they’ve finished work at their job.
“It’s no different than going to a doctor in a for-profit clinic,” she said.
Neal said there are many disparities in health care. One of them is the Latinx community, who Neal said are not getting the health care they need. She said the clinic wants to provide access to that community and others.
The previous location of the clinic on Northeast 189th Street was not accessible by public transit and was obscure, Neal said, but the new location in Battle Ground will remedy that issue.
“For any of our communities of color, anyone who is in need of care, we really want to reach out and to help serve them with their needs,” Neal said. “We know it’s really hard for them to find access to care and sometimes it’s hard to find that care even if you have state health insurance because it’s harder to find providers.”
Since the clinic’s services are free, it depends on “the generosity of donors,” Neal said, which includes individual donors, grants and fundraising events.
For more information on the clinic, visit battlegroundhealth care.org. A video of Neal cutting the ribbon for the new location can also be found at youtube.com/watch?v=QLP37aYJ620.
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