When Swedish Hospital closed its Bainbridge Island clinic two years ago, thousands of residents lost their health care provider.
One doctor affected by the closure, Dr. Richard St. Cyr, moved his practice to Peninsula Community Health Services and is accepting new patients.
He’s not on BI, but he has clinics in nearby Poulsbo and Kingston.
St. Cyr said the initial wait to see a provider is one month, which is typical for every primary care system. But, if people are willing to see other providers, then scheduling is flexible since PCHS has dozens of providers across the six clinics in Kitsap County.
“Once you’re in the door with your first visit completed, it’s pretty easy to see a provider for follow-up. We also have a handful of same-day slots for more urgent cases. There’s also an urgent care evening clinic in Bremerton,” St. Cyr said.
He went on to say: “PCHS is a good old-fashioned community clinic group, offering comprehensive primary care services for all age ranges, including OBGYN, dental, nutrition and mental health.”
He emphasized that they don’t have subspecialties as does Virginia Mason. “But that can actually be an advantage as we can refer to whoever we think is the best, and not just limit to who works in the same hospital.”
St. Cyr said he refers patients to Swedish, the University of Washington, The Doctors Clinic, CHI Franciscan — “anywhere I think offers the best service.”
It also has an in-house pharmacy, which he said can save costs on medication. The pharmacy can usually get the best prices on high-cost medicines, partly due to its federal funding.
St. Cyr said expensive medication is a frustrating part of health care, but PCHS patients can stay on their meds and save hundreds of dollars a month.
“For example, back at the Swedish Clinic, I had dozens of patients with asthma or COPD who often couldn’t even afford the hundreds of dollars per month for inhalers that literally can save their life. The same goes for diabetic patients who couldn’t afford their insulin,” St. Cyr said.
The pharmacy also offers appointments with pharmacists to help better manage conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes. “This is a huge plus for me as I can take much better care of my patients here,” he said.
Also, PCHS has a behavioral health team of psychiatrists and counselors. St. Cyr said he is thrilled that he can finally tell patients that they can see a psychiatrist in the PCHS system, sometimes in just a couple of weeks.
“It’s very difficult around Kitsap for patients to find mental health providers even with good insurance,” he added.
For more call 360-377-3776) or go to pchsweb.org.