Arrayed with fun adornments, such as a bookshelf in the shape of a canoe, oars on the wall, and plenty of bruin-themed decor, the Bear Creek Pediatrics LLC clinic takes what could be a sterile space and transforms it into a welcoming, fun, and child-friendly atmosphere. Books and a colorful toy kitchen are placed in nooks to distract children while they sit in the waiting room.
Bear Creek’s move in January to a 3,000-square-foot space in the Mullan Center, at 1410 N. Mullan Road, in Spokane Valley, from its former quarters in the Providence Sacred Heart Doctor’s Building, has doubled its exam rooms to six.
Advanced registered nurse practitioners Sasha Hull Ormand and Lisa Madden took over Dr. David Morgan’s pediatric practice and renamed it Bear Creek Pediatrics after Morgan retired in January 2018.
The clinic space is leased through Cantu Commercial Properties LLC, of Spokane Valley, which also remodeled the space.
With ample parking space for patients and American with Disabilities Act-compliant features, Bear Creek Pediatrics is anticipating more growth with patients.
The primary patient age range for pediatric care is from newborn to 18 years, and Bear Creek sees an estimated 1,200 patients annually, says office administrator Kimberly Thomas.
With an eight-person staff, independently owned Bear Creek Pediatrics clinic offers free meet and greets for prospective parents, which provides an opportunity for pregnant women and their partners to meet with one of the ARNPs and choose a provider before the baby arrives.
That can be a good way for the parents to feel more prepared, says Thomas.
The office offers same-day appointments, so a child with surprise symptoms usually can get scheduled to see a provider on short notice.
Often, Thomas contends, when patients go to a large-network or corporately owned clinic, they might have a difficult time getting in to see their main provider consistently and might see other providers depending on who is available.
Thomas contends that when an independent provider sees one patient on a consistent basis over time, trust builds as the provider is familiar with the patient and the patient may feel more comfortable.
“Sasha and Lisa get to know their patients really well, which is great, because as a parent, you want to be able to know that the provider understands your child,” Thomas says.
Bear Creek Pediatrics clinic accepts a wide range of insurance providers, she says.
ARNPs are required to participate in training every year, so patients can receive up-to-date care and nurses can stay on top of new guidelines and recommendations.
In the mid-’80s, Washington became one of the first states to allow nurse practitioners to perform as independent practitioners, allowing them to work without physician oversight.
On Bear Creek’s website, questionnaire forms recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics can be downloaded, including screening checklists for teen depression, child anxiety, and autism.
Ormand says mental health is a concern for children of all ages.
“You see behavior problems creep up, because of a lot of screen time. I see that a lot. We know there’s an effect on developing brains,” Ormand says.
Parents who are worried about their child’s mental health can bring them in for a screening, and the providers can decide whether the child may need a follow-up appointment with a counselor or other health professional, she says.
In addition to mental health screenings, the clinic offers vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine for measles, injury evaluation, newborn care, sports physicals, and wellness visits. A wellness visit is a yearly physical examination.
Thomas says that under the Affordable Care Act, most wellness visits for children should be covered by insurance.
“We like to encourage people to stay up to date, particularly with their children. It gives the baseline for providers to work off of,” Thomas says.
Some of Thomas’ own 13 grandchildren are patients of Bear Creek Pediatrics. She adds that Ormand and Madden are parents themselves, which helps them empathize with their patients.
“It adds a lot of heart to what they do,” Thomas says.
Ormand says she and Madden also look to manage the clinic from the perspective of a parent.
Parent-friendly features include working flexible hours, taking phone calls, and scheduling efficient appointments, she says.
Thomas adds, “It’s very much a team mentality in here.”
Bear Creek Pediatrics will host an open house 4-7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the new clinic space.
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