There is an event in Seattle this week for anyone needing free healthcare. The Seattle/King County Clinic will operate out of KeyArena from Thursday, September 20 until Sunday, September 23.
The event provides free health, dental, and vision care to those in need and no ID or proof of immigration status is required.
“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing,” said Meredith Li-Vollmer, who handles communications for the event. “It’s really a community effort.”
The clinic expects to serve about 4,000 people. The waiting tent for patients, located on the corner of 2nd Ave N and Thomas Street, opens at 12:30 a.m. every day, with a limited number of tickets issued beginning at 5 a.m. Tickets cannot be reserved and are available on a first come, first served basis.
The clinic said patients should expect a long day. Patients will be admitted into the clinic starting at 6:30 a.m. in ticket number order.
The event served 16,300 patients between 2014 and 2017. It's supported by a long list of partners, including the Seattle Center Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and UW Medicine.
On Wednesday, an army of volunteers set up exam chairs and medical equipment inside KeyArena.
“Yeah, they’re super busy,” said Li-Vollmer.
Robert Johnston, a retired physician, was there Wednesday preparing bags that will hold instruments being sanitized.
“Of course I didn’t need to go to medical school for this, but that’s OK,” he laughed. “You do what you need to do, what helps the most.”
Johnston said that need is evident in the Seattle area.
“People here, they need the help,” Johnston said. “And it makes me feel good this clinic is being put on. Serves a lot of people.”
Li-Vollmer said she’s just happy to make a difference in people’s lives.
“Healthcare is expensive,” she said. “So even with a job, even with two jobs it’s very hard to get what you need. This clinic helps fill the gap.”