‘Everyone from newborns to grandma’

The Doctors Clinic is set to open a practice on Hildebrand.

A brand new medical clinic is about to open on Bainbridge, but its doctors will be familiar to many islanders.

Family physicians Robert Hurlow and Maureen Koval along with pediatrician Thomas Monk are leaving Virginia Mason Winslow to form a core of primary care providers at a new branch of the Doctors Clinic on Hildebrand Lane, set to open on Dec. 3.

The three physicians approached the peninsula-based medical group about opening on Bainbridge, and Doctors Clinic president Dr. Brian Wicks said their interest, combined with growing need for primary care, prompted the move.

“We’ve been considering this for a number of years because we have seen Bainbridge’s population grow,” Wicks said.

“We have also had requests from members in the community who asked that the Doctors Clinic become a part of Bainbridge health care.”

The physicians will set up shop in a 4,900 square-foot suite, on the ground level at 945 Hildebrand Lane.

“It will pretty much be a full service clinic,” Hurlow said. “We’ll be able to see everyone from newborns to grandma.”

The primary care physicians will be supplemented by specialists on a scheduled rotating basis.

Specialists could include orthopedists, ear-nose-throat doctors or cardiologists, but the services provided will ultimately be determined by the needs of patients, Wicks said.

The clinic will also offer laboratory services, X-rays and a digital imaging system that will allow physicians on Bainbridge to feed digital video from an examination to an off-island specialist who could give an opinion while the patient was still in the room.

Hurlow said he expects to retain many of the patients from his practice at Virginia Mason, but said won’t recommend that his clients stop seeing Seattle specialists unless they want to make a change.

The Doctors Clinic CEO Linda Brown said hiring island doctors provided established relationships with Bainbridge patients, and allowed the company to offer its services on the island without adding competition for established physicians.

“We just want to give people options,” she said.

As well as a choice in primary care, the Doctors Clinic wants to provide an alternative to Virginia Mason Winslow as a link to a broader medical organization.

With 70 physicians and 30 specialists, the Doctors Clinic is the largest medical group in West Sound.

Wicks believes many patients will find its Kitsap-based services more convenient than riding the ferry to Virginia Mason’s downtown Seattle facilities.

The Doctors Clinic can’t yet match the size of Virginia Mason’s medical network, which includes more than 480 physicians, or its electronic records system, which the Doctors Clinic won’t implement until sometime next year.

What the Doctors Clinic does offer, Hurlow said, is a more personal touch, often lacking in more administration-driven providers.

“The Doctors Clinic is owned and run by the docs,” he said. “They hire the administration to do what they do but the decisions are still made at the level of the MDs.”

Work crews are still finishing the interior remodel of the Hildebrand suite for the December opening, and Wicks said there is more space available in the building if the clinic wants to grow.

“We feel that this is a good position for us to be in as a business and we feel this is a location where the Doctors Clinic will have success,” he said. “We see the future there as one of expansion, not contraction.”


Three black bags

MDs Robert Hurlow, Maureen Koval and Thomas Monk will open The Doctors Clinic Bainbridge Dec. 3 at 945 Hildebrand Lane. See or call (360) 782-3601.

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