School-based health clinics did not open in Pasco this fall, as planned

School-based health clinics did not open in Pasco this fall, as planned »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- A plan to put a pair of health clinics right within Pasco schools never got off the ground. The clinics were set to open this fall.

KEPR is looking back into the story and found the clinics are still set to help low-income families. But now they're going somewhere completely different.

Jackie Arroyo works with a lot of underprivileged children in her role as a daycare teacher. She sees the need for low-cost health care.

"A lot of the kids here don't have insurance to go to dentist and stuff like that," said Arroyo.

Many of the kids Jackie cares for will one day be a part of the Kennewick School District, including students at Amistad Elementary.
This is one of the schools set to receive a clinic right on school property.

"That is really nice cause a lot of the kids here, they get sick and parents don't even know they're sick," said Arroyo.

The clinic is a part of a project by Tri-Cities Community Health. The organization received a half-million dollar grant last year to build two clinics in the Tri-Cities. It was expected both would go in Pasco.
They were supposed to be open by the start of this school year, but the head of the clinics says Tri-Cities Community Health couldn't come to an agreement with Pasco Schools. So the two clinics will go in Kennewick and Finley instead.

The Kennewick clinic will go in a corner of the undeveloped land directly next to the school. Right now, the project is in the design phase, hoping to move to the construction phase in a month or two.

Despite being in the design phase, the goal is to open in January.
Al Cordova is CEO of Tri-Cities Community Health and helped put 20 similar clinics in schools in Texas. The primary purpose will be to serve everyone.

"No child will be turned away due to inability to pay," said Cordova.

Jackie is excited her students will have access to health care to start them on a path to success.

"That will be nice having a doctor close to school and everything," said Arroyo.

To get all sides -- KEPR checked with Pasco Schools as to the reason the clinics didn't work out there. The district says Tri-Cities Community Health wanted an exclusive agreement with Pasco. But the school district wanted to be able to tell people it was their choice where to get medical care.