CPGH services expanded through new Kenai clinic

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2001

People needing health care in the Kenai, Nikiski and Kalifornsky area have a major new convenience: a Kenai clinic to provide services previously available only at the hospital in Soldotna.

The Central Peninsula General Hospital Kenai Clinic opened its doors Aug. 27. The three-person staff is spreading the good news to Kenai-area residents.

The new clinic, operating as an annex of the main hospital, offers X-rays, mammograms, lab tests, electrocardiograms and work-ups for people needing operations.

"This way they can conveniently stop here ... instead of having to go all the way to Soldotna," said Doug Davis, the radiology director who manages the new clinic.

"We want people to know we're here, to know what services we have available."

The scent of new carpet hangs in the air. The equipment is state of the art; the rooms bright with new paint; the furniture attractive and the atmosphere casual and inviting.

"This is a classy facility," he said.

The new clinic is in the Kenai Health Center behind the Country Foods grocery on Barnacle Way between Willow Street and Main Street Loop. The hospital annex shares the building with the state's Kenai Public Health Center, which opened its new office in July.

The people who have come into the new facility so far have been impressed, Davis said.

The clinic is set up to take referrals from doctors. People need to call 283-4495 to make appointments for mammograms, but for other services, walk-ins are accepted.

Davis said the clinic was the brainchild of Kenai Mayor John Williams and former CPGH Chief Executive Officer Marty Richman. The goal was convenience for Kenai area residents.

Now people won't have to drive to Soldotna and back every time their physician requests a test.

Margaret Prestwick, the mammographer, said less driving is not the only way the new clinic can save clients time.

The radiology rooms and technicians at CPGH are limited and can get busy. For example, the needs of the emergency room or a special procedure could mean that patients trying to get routine radiology services in Soldotna would have to wait, she said.

"The space (here) is more than adequate," she said.

Davis agreed that the facility is built with the future in mind. As community demand dictates, the clinic will be able to expand its services and staff, he said.

"We may offer ultrasound service out here at a later date," he said.

The hospital is planning to hold specialty clinics at the site and is considering additional equipment, too. The building was designed to accommodate growth to the east and north.

The Kenai clinic was constructed through a three-way partnership between the city of Kenai, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the state. The public health nurses occupy 6,500-square feet, and the hospital's clinic occupies 4,000-square feet.

Architect Bill Kluge created the building with the help of a design group comprised several people, including Richman, Public Health's Kenai Nurse Manager JoAnn Hagen and CPGH Board President Diana Zirul.

Clarion reporter Jay Barrett contributed to this story.

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