VIM will provide vigor to Port Angeles’ free clinic opportunities

When PAARC turns to VIM, partly thanks to OMC, what will change beside the letters in the alphabet soup of health-care organizations?

Quite a lot, actually.

VIM (Volunteers in Medicine) will have more doctors, more support, more money, more space and more access to medical services than had PAARC (Port Angeles Association of Religious Communities clinic), which has served uninsured people since 2001.

The idea for a Port Angeles free clinic started four or five years ago, says Patty Hannah, executive director of United Way of Clallam County, when the umbrella charity surveyed community needs that weren’t being met by its member agencies.

Healthcare emerged as a top priority.

While Edward and Phyllis Hopfner followed “their calling” to start PAARC, Hannah said, United Way continued to consider community health needs for another 2½ years.

Peninsula orthopedist Dr. Sam Baker knew of Volunteers in Medicine’s origins in Hilton Head, S.C., and the United Way planners eventually chose the Hilton Head clinic as a model.

Ultimately the boards of PAARC and VIM merged into a single agency, with Baker as president. He had sold his building — most recently used as a chiropractic clinic — to Olympic Medical Center, or OMC.

After performing minor remodeling work, OMC will lease the building back to VIM for $1 a year.

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