Pictured cutting the ribbon is Licking County Health Commissioner and MHA Board member Joe Ebel
NEWARK – Kelli Hopkins knows when some people hear the word clinic, they might envision an impersonal space or a hectic setting.
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The public health nurse is hoping that the Licking County Health Department’s new clinic — with its brightly colored walls and comfortable waiting room — will change people’s minds
“This reminds me of going into a doctor’s office,” Hopkins said. “We are really happy to be in this space now.”
After four months of renovations, the health department celebrated the opening of its new clinic Monday.
The $180,000 expansion puts all of the department’s medical services into one area, Health Commissioner Joe Ebel said.
The health department provides childhood and adult immunizations, travel vaccinations, a women’s health clinic, sexually transmitted disease clinics and flu shot clinics. That all will be housed in the new space, he said.
Last year, the clinic served 2,528 adults and 1,277 children and teens, according to the department’s 2015 annual report. The clinic also provided 1,414 adult vaccinations and 4,017 child vaccinations and 349 people visited the sexual health clinic.
The new clinic space is located in the portion of the building that used to house the City of Newark Health Department, Ebel said.
The health department had been looking at renovating the space since the city and county health departments merged eight years ago, Ebel said.
When the department received the 85-year-old building on Price Road as a donation from the Licking County commissioners in January, it opened up new opportunities to make improvements, he said.
The new clinic will be more efficient and will offer patients more privacy. They have their own waiting room in a separate wing, Ebel said.
The renovation also gave the department the opportunity to install this software, he said.
The various clinics were spread out around the health department building during the renovation, and it’s been great to bring everything back together, Ebel said.
The first patients should be arriving in the new clinic Tuesday, he said.
“We are really excited about it,” he said. “Our staff really appreciates the nice space, and I’m sure our clients will appreciate it as well.”
Before the renovations, nurses would have to constantly move supplies in and out of exam rooms, depending on the clinic they were hosting.
Now, each room has a specific designation so supplies will have a permanent location. It also will be helpful for the clinic to have its own lab and storage area, Hopkins said.
“It will be so much nicer for us, and it will be nicer for the public, too,” she said.
Diane Kintner, a nurse practitioner at the health department, said she thinks patients will have an easier time navigating the clinic.
“It creates a nicer experience for the customers,” she said. “They’ll know exactly where to go.”
Found in The Newark Advocate March 9, 2016