To keep the Auburn public health clinic open for the next two years, Executive Constantine will work with the King County Council to identify additional funding. Current funding partners include the cities of Auburn, Algona, and Pacific, as well as the Muckleshoot Tribe and Orion Industries.
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced he has brought together funding partners from local cities, tribes, nonprofits, and companies to help maintain services at the Auburn health clinic for the next two years. He will work with the Metropolitan King County Council to identify the additional funds needed to continue operations during the 2015-2016 biennium.
The Auburn Public Health Center—which includes satellite offices in Enumclaw and the Muckleshoot Reservation—provides health services to 10,000 clients, 97 percent of whom live below the federal poverty line. Staff from Public Health – Seattle & King County primarily provide maternity services, nutrition programs, and family planning. The clinic had been identified for closure due to declines in state and federal funding.
“This partnership brings together cities, tribal government, nonprofits, and business—united in a shared commitment to the health and prosperity of the people who live here,” said Executive Constantine. “I’m proud of the innovative local solutions we’ve crafted to help maintain important health services, but we must ultimately develop a sustainable funding source for Public Health that our state has lacked for many years.”
Public Health has not had a sustainable funding source since 2000 when the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax was eliminated. This partnership would allow for Public Health to maintain services at the Auburn clinic for the next two years, but a sustainable funding source still needs to be identified.
Funding partners include the cities of Auburn, Algona, and Pacific. Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus has committed to providing $220,000 over the next two years. The Muckleshoot Tribe also pledged support, along with the Group Health Foundation. The coalition also includes Orion Industries, a local metal manufacturer for aerospace, defense, and automotive industries.
“I am humbled, but not surprised, by what has been accomplished by the south county cities, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, the Auburn School District, Valley Regional Fire Authority, healthcare agencies and employees, and private industry working in partnership with King County to maintain the services for our region's most vulnerable people,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus. “As often happens in Auburn, when a need arises and something monumental needs to happen, we step up to the challenge and get it done.”
“When community leaders first came to Council chambers to discuss the need to keep the Auburn Public Health Clinic open, I was optimistic it could happen,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “By working together and developing unique funding partnerships, we are very close to providing critical services to those who need it most in our community.”
“I am grateful that Executive Constantine continues to work diligently with area partners in putting together funding commitments that will provide a portion of the needed funds to keep the clinic and the satellite offices open,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “I’m going to work closely with my colleagues on the County Council to find the additional funding needed during the Council’s budget process to ensure that this health center will remain open."
It is the third time since September that Executive Constantine has brought together partners to help maintain services at Public Health clinics. He brought together the City of Seattle and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest to keep the clinic open in White Center, and he formed a partnership with the City of Federal Way to keep the clinic there open, along with contributions from Public Health employees.