On Thursday, August 15, the Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) held a grand opening for the Maple Clinic, after its two year renovation. A couple of hundred people attended to celebrate this milestone.
The new clinic design still has two floors like before, but the floor plan incorporates open spaces, with high ceilings. On the basement floor, natural light is replicated using fabrics to diffuse cool light providing simulated natural light. The CHAS Maple Clinic continues to offer medical, dental and pharmacy services, but now utilizes a much more efficient layout.
I photographed some of the tours given to people attending the grand opening, most of whom noted how expansive the space seemed. For some, it was their first time in a clinic. This is not the clinic that most people have seen on TV or in the movies. There are no flickering flourescent lights, momentarily showing grime on the walls. Patients are not seen in the waiting room or in small, dingy exam rooms.
This space reminds me of most mainstream medical offices. The rooms are clean and well sized. Medical instruments are well-organized. The staff seems genuinely interested in the well-being of their patients. But, this is a clinic. CHAS serves the most vulnerable patients in the inland northwest, low-income people. These are people who generally don’t have insurance or are on a government program, like Medicaid or Medicare. They also outreach to the homeless population.
Their mission is to serve anybody who comes through the doors of their clinic. I’ve been to the CHAS Maple Clinic a few times during construction to photograph the space and clinic business. It is always busy. There is never a moment when patients aren’t in the waiting room waiting to see a provider or pick up a prescription. There is a constant hum of activity. The new space continues to fulfill the mission and serve patients well for years to come.