Photos by Patrick Robinson
Marty Couret, ARNP and the Highline Medical Urgent Care and Family Medicine medical director, checks out his eventual new office at their new location in West Seattle's Triangle. The projected opening date is Nov. 19. PLEASE CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR MORE.

SLIDESHOW: Taking a sneak peek inside Highline Medical Urgent Care and Family Medicine, with plans to open mid-November

In just over a month from now, Highline Medical Center will open their Urgent Care and Family Medicine clinic in West Seattle, significantly expanding their presence from the current 41st Ave S.W. location and placing them in the heart of the Triangle.

In order to share a better idea of what this new clinic (located in the old Cycle U building just east of the intersection at S.W. Alaska St. and Fauntleroy Way S.W.) will offer, the West Seattle Herald toured the facility-in-the-works on Oct. 3 in advance of their projected Nov. 19 opening date.

Please click the image above for more photos of the clinic.

Our guides were Highline’s Vickie Jiminez, operations director for primary care clinics, Lisa Randall, manager for the West Seattle clinic, Marty Couret, ARNP and the clinic’s medical director and Chris Holmes with HST Construction.

The space itself
Moving to the Triangle will provide Highline with far more space (than the 41st Ave S.W. location) for their family and urgent services, allowing them to devote individual floors to each division.

Urgent care will take up the 2,500 square feet on the top, or street level with five exam rooms, one X-ray room and one procedure room (a larger space for more involved procedures including stitches, incisions, drainage, mole removal and the like). There will be south and north-facing entrances.

Family medicine will be in the lower level – a surprising 9,000 square feet that expands well beyond the building’s visible footprint. The space expands all the way to S.W. Alaska St. and the entrance will be on the north side.

There will be 18 exam rooms, one procedure room and six providers with capacity to grow, according to Couret. Contractors have put in windows wherever possible to allow natural light in, a feature Couret said is important for his crew and patients.

Moving outside, the north-side parking lot will have 39 spaces and the building exterior will be a mixture of light-colored stucco walls with hardwood trim. Holmes with HST said 95 percent of the materials pulled from the building during their revamp have been recycled.

“The facility is designed to be more contemporary and comfortable for patients,” Highline spokesperson Mara Burke said in a prior Herald story.

Urgent care vs. the emergency room?
It is a serious question for West Seattleites with our lack of a full-scale hospital or emergency room on the peninsula.

Couret said Highline’s urgent care clinic can treat a wide variety of ailments and injuries, from the flu to minor fractures, but his advice on making that snap judgment call comes down to the patient in that moment.

“Anything where you think you might need to spend the night in the hospital; go to the ER,” he said. “You can come see me, but I’m still going to send you down there (if needed).”

With chest pain, for example, Couret recommended an ER visit.

As for the potential proximity of an ambulance, Couret said Highline’s next door neighbors at Seattle Fire Station #32 should make for a quick response.

To see a list of ailments where Highline recommends urgent care, visit their website.

Family practice – from pediatrics to geriatrics
“My youngest patient … is four months right now and my oldest is literally 99,” Couret said of the breadth of family services. “It is fun to see them both in the same day. That is just the wonderful thing about being in family medicine is you get to see people across the lifespan. Quite often I’m seeing grandkids of patients I have and that’s a lot of fun.”

As we toured the quickly evolving family medicine area, Couret had his first opportunity to look at the new office he’ll share with one other practitioner.

“This is the biggest office I’ve ever had,” he said with a smile. “I’ve shared an office with four providers this size so, ya, this will be OK.”

Highline implemented electronic medical records about a year and a half ago, according to Couret, and that system makes it seamless for Highline patients to move from clinic to clinic or urgent care to clinic for specialized care (in that anywhere a patient goes within their network, their records can be instantaneously retrieved).

Couret said the expansion in size will allow Highline to take on more patients and hire new staff.

Hours … and snow hours
The family medicine clinic will be open Monday through Friday by appointment and the urgent care facility, with a separate entrance, will be open seven days a week with no appointments necessary, Burke said. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Couret said Highline also has a “snow plan” together. Will several employees living in West Seattle and many within walking distance of the clinic, they plan to be open (although hours and staff may be limited) when the weather turns ugly and the roads get treacherous.

Fitting into the Triangle and West Seattle as a whole
“It’s exciting to be part of the Triangle,” Operations Director Jiminez said of their new location. “We are really looking forward to being part of that revitalization.”

“We have a serious density of people that need to be served and we are pretty excited about it,” Couret added in reference to the large housing units rising all around their new locale. “This is the first step in a pretty big growth cycle for Highline too.” (No specifics were given, but it could mean more Highline services for West Seattle)

Our guides said Highline has been working closely with Junction and Triangle community and development groups for a long time (their family medicine clinic in West Seattle opened in 1992).

“We have had a presence here for over 20 years and we are just trying to keep building on that and having a community presence,” Couret said, adding, “Especially with how tight West Seattle is. This is a tight neighborhood and so if we weren't involved with the community … we would have been gone a long time ago.”

“We are trying to be a community partner and not just a medical facility,” Jiminez added.

Randall, the clinic manager, said part of that integration is taking part in and supporting West Seattle festivals and street fairs.

Once the building is polished and ready, Highline plans to hold an open house for the public to visit their new location. Details on that are expected in the coming weeks.

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