Free clinic organizers look to take the next step

On a national level, providing citizens with affordable health care is an issue that is being tackled by some of the country’s most powerful leaders.

But right here at home, local leaders are taking action and hoping others will jump on board.

During an interview last week, Dr. Dino Ramzi said he first started thinking about the concept of introducing a free clinic to east Clark County while working at and taking care of patients at Lacamas Medical Group in Camas, where for the past six years he has worked as a family medicine physician.

“I could see there were a lot of unaddressed needs,” he said. “It gets frustrating.”

So Ramzi, a Washougal resident, channeled that frustration and came up with the concept for 360 Care, a non-profit clinic with a low-cost subscription model that addresses integrated primary health care, and also offers mental and behavioral health services. A minimum of 50 percent of the clinic’s services will be provided free of charge.

With the idea, enthusiasm and motivation in place, now a brick and mortar location needs to be secured.

Since going public with the concept, a psychologist, doctor and mental health assistant are among those who have stepped forward with a desire to help and lend their expertise. Ramzi is hoping as word about the clinic spreads further, others will commit to providing money and services, as well as resources such as building materials and equipment, to make the effort a reality and also financially sustainable.

A community meeting to discuss the proposed free clinic will be held Thursday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m., at the Washougal Community Center, 1681 “C” St.

Camas and Washougal are communities with populations that represent diverse economic situations. Organizations that provide individuals and families in need with free services including food, clothing and other resources are already well-utilized. A free medical clinic is a logical next step, and would be an incredible addition to a community that shows compassion and care for all of its citizens.