King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced a partnership with the City of Federal Way to keep open the Federal Way Public Health Center, despite declining federal and state funding.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced a partnership with the City of Federal Way to keep open the Federal Way Public Health Center, despite declining federal and state funding. Thanks to wage concessions by Public Health employees that will result in savings during the 2015-2106 budget, and additional funding from the city, the clinic will be able to remain open for at least the next two years.
“I want to thank the elected leaders in Federal Way and our selfless Public Health employees for helping us keep this clinic open,” said Executive Constantine. “Saving this clinic demonstrates our shared commitment to providing critical services and overcoming the lack of state and federal funding.”
The announcement follows a week after Executive Constantine released the details of a partnership that would allow the Greenbridge Public Health Center, located in White Center, to remain open. That partnership includes the City of Seattle and Planned Parenthood. This past summer, Public Health recommended closing four of King County’s 10 health clinics to balance its budget amid declines in federal and state funding.
"I will keep working after today with cities, such as Auburn, and community stakeholders elsewhere in the region to develop similar partnerships," said the Executive in his address to the King County Council this morning. A Public Health clinic in Auburn has also been recommended for closure.
The Public Health clinic in Federal Way is the largest in south King County, serving a diverse mix of more than 11,500 clients per year, most of whom earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell and the Federal Way City Council last week approved $221,000 in its 2015 budget to help maintain Public Health services.
“This step buys us time to develop long-term solutions while keeping the Federal Way clinic open for low-income mothers and infants,” said Mayor Ferrell. “I appreciate Executive Constantine’s leadership and commitment to working with the City to find an alternative to closing the clinic in January.”
“I am proud of the work that our community did to save the Federal Way clinic,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “By working together, nearly 14,000 of our most vulnerable citizens will continue to receive access to much needed health care and maternity services.”
The city’s contribution goes toward a funding package that filled a $750,000 annual gap, beyond revenues generated at the clinic, to keep the center open. In addition, Public Health employees represented by four labor unions voted to accept wage concessions. When combined with similar concessions for non-represented staff and management, Public Health will have enough savings to operate the clinic for the 2015-2016 biennium.