Business

Primary care clinic coming

By DeAnn Rossetti

Those lamenting the loss of the Virginia Mason Clinic on the Island will be happy to hear that Dr. John Addison of the Overlake Senior Care Clinic is opening another clinic: Mercer Island Primary Care.

The new clinic is next door to the senior care clinic, in the former Specs in the City space, and will open Tuesday, Jan. 25. An open house is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2.

``Overlake Senior Clinic, which has been open for almost two years, was only able to serve the Medicare population,'' said Addison. ``I was able to serve my other patients in a tiny little office to the side of the clinic. But once we heard the eyeglass place was going bankrupt, we said `Let's expand to a primary care practice.'''

The primary care practice will include all patients from high school age through seniors who have regular insurance, not Medicare, and will have internal medicine and family practice.

Addison signed the lease in August and began construction with Mercer Island's Express Construction in October. The new 3,200-square-foot space has six exam rooms, three offices, an oversized exam room for family conferences, a procedure room, several bathrooms, a lab and an X-ray suite.

The clinic will have a Dexa-Scan machine that measures bone-density. Dr. Addison is pleased to have it available to determine whether post-menopausal women have osteoporosis.

``We're really promoting that service to the elderly,'' said Addison. ``It's recommended to get screening for all post-menopausal women and men over 70, and we have a state-of-the-art system here that takes all of 10 minutes or less to complete.''

The walls of the new primary care clinic are painted a chic dark mauve and sand, with sage green accents, and the floor-to-ceiling windows in the front of the office give it a spacious feeling. Addison said that the office will be close to full service, with a small number of lab tests, such as blood sugar and cholesterol tests being done on-site, while other, more complex labs will be sent out. Office hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, but Addison said they hope to expand those hours to include evenings in the future.

There will be four physicians and one nurse practitioner at the clinic: Addison, Dr. Neeti Mittal, Dr. Haritha Vankireddy and Dr. Catherine Jin, as well as Olinda Mar, ARNP, nurse practitioner.

Having been an internal medicine and geriatric physician for 23 years, Addison said he doesn't plan on leaving his geriatric practice for general internal medicine. He will shift his schedule from spending half his time in the Overlake office and half in nursing homes and hospitals to two-thirds time in the new office and one-third visiting patients in nursing homes and hospitals.

``Seniors are more interesting in terms of medical problems. They're a more complex mix of medical, sociological and spiritual issues, so they need more time to deal with that, generally half-hour appointments,'' he said. ``The new clinic will be more traditional, with 15 to 20 minute appointments, and we'll have same-day access for people who need to be seen right away.''

Addison said this is the second step in a ``grand plan'' he has for the future of the clinic on Mercer Island. ``Step one was the senior care facility, step two is our primary care clinic, and step three is an urgent care facility and expanded hours for we can take appointments at 7 p.m., when people get home from work.''

Though he notes that many successful clinics don't take Medicare patients, because Medicare pays 30 percent less than traditional insurance to medical practitioners, Addison said that the Overlake Clinic has been successful and that he intends to keep dealing with senior patients both with and without Medicare in the future.

``I'm having more fun as a physician now than I had when I first started practice, because the limits are ones we impose on ourselves, rather than conforming to institutional policy,'' he said. ``All doctors here will be encouraged to develop their own personal style. We want to be thought of as a community resource for the next 20 years on the Island, and I hope I am thought of as an old-fashioned doctor, like a country doctor on Mercer Island.''

Dr. John Addison can be reached at 206-275-3588. The Mercer Island Senior Care Clinic is located at 7707 S.E. 27th St.

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