Board approves N. Portland Health Center remodel

March 13, 2017

Greg Hockert and Vanetta Abdellatif address the board.
The Board of Commissioners on March 9,  approved the  next step in a $3.3 million remodel and expansion of the North Portland Health Center. Commissioners voted to approve the design and construction plans and begin construction in June.

Eight new exam rooms will be added to the center at 9000 N. Lombard near the St. John’s Bridge. They are being built in areas currently used as storage and office areas.  Two provider team rooms are also being added to house new primary care teams. The first floor-pharmacy is being moved to vacant office space on the second floor with a new reception and waiting area.

The former pharmacy space will be dedicated to new offices for a behavioral health service team and staff who help patients with insurance.

Vanetta Abdellatif, director of Integrated Clinical Services at the Health Department, said as the largest safety net provider of healthcare, the Health Department services more than 71,000 patients a year at more than 25 primary care, school-based, dental and speciality clinics. Construction is expected to be completed in June, 2018. But the health center will remain open and operating throughout the project.

“We have been consistently working with the staff at all program levels and understanding what their needs and desires.’’ said Greg Hockert, project manager for Multnomah County Facilities.

Funding for the renovation includes a $935,035 grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration. It also includes a FY 2017 Capital Improvement of $578,000. The Health Department was seeking an additional one-time only funding of $1.8 million.

Abdellatif said they project includes creating and installing all the mechanical infrastructure for a dental clinic. Demand is high for dental services but she said, but the Health Department is pausing on purchasing new dental chairs, hiring dental staff and opening the clinic due to the uncertainty around the President Donald Trump repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Lori Stegmann.
Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Lori Stegmann listen to Vanetta Abdellatif's presentation.

Any repeal will affect the Oregon Health Plan, the insurance for most county clients.

“We’re pausing on equipment and evaluate timing and also keep an eye on the really volatile reimbursement around OHP,’’ she said. “We have to make sure there will be reimbursement there that is going to support building our services.”