Family Care Network to move forward on facility

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Family Care Network (FCN) is getting the ball rolling on its Blaine location now that the property is purchased, but questions remain on the future medical facility’s timeline.

After a few delays, FCN purchased the property from the city of Blaine on June 30. The purchase and sale agreement was signed in October 2019 but the closing date was delayed as FCN focused on operating its 15 other medical facilities in Whatcom and Skagit counties during the pandemic.

“We are excited to have acquired the land and we are looking forward to progressing through the next steps,” FCN president and CEO Dr. Rodney Anderson said. “If it weren’t for Covid-19, we would probably have a building built and be working there now.”

Blaine City Council voted in January to amend the purchase and sale agreement to extend the feasibility period until May 28.

Rodney said he deeply appreciated the support of the Blaine community and Blaine City Council for going above and beyond in providing FCN with extensions as it focused on the pandemic.

Blaine city manager Michael Jones said the city is anxiously awaiting FCN’s construction of the facility.

“This was a long process that was greatly complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. I appreciate the perseverance of Family Care Network and city council for seeing this through,” Jones said. “It’s going to be a great addition and service for the
community.”

Although the purchase is a signed deal, Covid-19 is still affecting Family Care Network’s timeline to build the clinic, FCN spokesperson Michele Anderson said in an email to The Northern Light. The clinic’s timeline will be shared as more information is available.

“We do not have a timeline yet,” Michele said. “As an organization, we are still actively dealing with Covid-19, which occupies a significant amount of our internal resources.”

The medical facility is highly anticipated in Blaine, as the city was left without a medical provider during the pandemic when the previous provider closed in April 2020. About two years ago, FCN became interested in securing a new clinic in the Gateway parcel, where the former airport property once was. FCN purchased the 2.5-acre property for $337,590, according to the agreement. FCN expects the facility to be 5,000 to 8,000 square feet and include primary care for all ages, as well as lab services.

Use of telemedicine during the pandemic has changed FCN’s idea of what the facility might look like as it plans for a clinic to be used by the community in decades to come, Rodney said.

FCN’s next steps will be to finalize a site plan and design, hire a general contractor and develop a construction timeline.

The clinic will open with about four medical providers, with anticipation of adding additional providers in the following years. FCN already serves about 8,000 patients in the Blaine area, but Michele said the future clinic could serve up to 10,000 or more.

The highly anticipated clinic couldn’t come a day sooner for some Blaine residents.

Blaine city councilmember Garth Baldwin said he’s heard from a couple of older residents who were concerned when the clinic was in question, but were extremely pleased the facility was going through.

Baldwin, who drives to Ferndale for a provider who accepts his insurance, remembers a time growing up when his family would walk to their doctor in Blaine.

“A community requires having those folks immediately available if you get hurt,” Baldwin said. “It’s a basic need like having a grocery store.”

In the meantime, FCN locations in Ferndale and Bellingham are accepting new patients.

“We’re coming out of Covid and getting our feet replanted,” Rodney said. “We’re committed to the idea of having a presence in the community.”

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