Port Angeles free clinic to get a new location and name next year

Port Angeles’ PAARC clinic — a health haven for the uninsured, unemployed and unwell since August 2001 — will move March 15 to a new location and assume a new name.

And its administrators hope it will get new medical providers.

It will keep its old clients — North Olympic Peninsula people who can’t afford private medical care, 100 of whom visit the Park Avenue clinic each week with 100 new patients arriving monthly.

PAARC, opened by Dr. Edward Hopfner and managed by his wife, registered nurse Phyllis Hopfner, will join with Volunteers in Medicine.

VIM, a United Way of Clallam County agency, relies on retired and active healthcare providers and non-medical volunteers to provide free care to the needy.

It also will work with the Dungeness Valley Health and Wellness Clinic in Sequim.

Also operating on the North Olympic Peninsula is the JC MASH free clinic, which operates Tuesday evenings in the basement of the American Legion Hall in Port Townsend.

The new Port Angeles clinic, which the Hopfners still will serve, will be called Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics and operate at 909 Georgiana St., next to the Klahhane Women’s Clinic.

Until it moves, PAARC will stay open from noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the basement of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 510 E. Park Ave., Port Angeles — its home for more than three years.

Need here at home

The free clinic began when the Hopfners retired and originally planned to travel to impoverished countries as medical missionaries.

Instead, they looked around Port Angeles and saw a shortage of medical care close to home.

“We just decided that we had enough need in our own back yard,” Phyllis Hopfner said.

She turned to local churches for help and opened the Port Angeles Association of Religious Communities Clinic in St. Andrew’s church, where the Rev. Michael Carr offered space.

They soundproofed a former choir-robe room — about the size of a walk-in closet — and turned it into an examining room.

Jim’s Pharmacy of Port Angeles provided discounts on prescriptions. Some equipment was donated; other used items were bought.

The clinic’s first grant came from the Peninsula Daily News Fund; the money bought the supplies that PAARC needed to open.

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