The Seattle/King County Clinic, held at KeyArena, will offer free medical, vision and dental care to more than 4,000 people Thursday-Sunday. No identification or proof of residence or citizenship is required, but people are advised to arrive early and be prepared to wait.
More than 4,000 people from across Washington will have access to $3.5 million in free vision, dental and medical care starting Thursday during the third annual Seattle/King County Clinic.
Dental fillings, extractions, X-rays and cleanings will be provided, along with vision screening, eyeglasses, physical exams, wound care, immunizations and more. Help connecting with and navigating health-insurance options will also be available, said Deborah Daoust, communications director for Seattle Center.
Last year’s event served 4,010 people, including about a third who reported having no health insurance and nearly half who said they couldn’t otherwise afford care, according to a report about the event.
An advisory board convened by Seattle Center reviewed last year’s event and concluded that such clinics don’t solve the problem of lack of access to health care, but do provide an important stop-gap.
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“Although short-term, high-impact clinics don’t provide a medical, dental or vision home for patients, they do address immediate unmet health needs and could play an important role in connecting individuals to services in the community,” the report concluded.
The only requirement for care is patience. People must wait in line — sometimes for hours — to be seen during the four-day event that runs from Thursday through Sunday in KeyArena at Seattle Center. Numbered admission tickets are distributed each day starting at 5 a.m., and registration begins at 6:30 a.m.
A patient waiting area, situated this year in the Fisher Pavilion, opens at 12:30 a.m. each day. For the past two years, hundreds of patients camped out and lined up early in hopes of obtaining care. Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days, so organizers encourage people to come earlier in the week.
More than 100 community partners and 1,000 health-care and other volunteers are expected to participate in this year’s clinic, which offers a wide range of diagnostic care and hands-on treatment.
No identification or proof of residence or citizenship is required. Patients can choose from services in two areas each day: medical and dental or medical and vision but not dental and vision. And they may return as often as they like during the four days of the clinic.
Patients may park for free in the First Avenue North garage at First Avenue between Thomas Street and John Street. Free parking is also available in the Mercer parking garage on Mercer Street between Third Avenue North and Fourth Avenue North.
KeyArena is located at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle.
For more information, visit www.seattlecenter.org/patients or call 206-684-7200.