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New Treatment Center Surges

Willamette Family Inc., an affordable health care provider that offers services ranging from mental health to substance abuse counseling, recently dramatically increased the number of people it serves at its newest Eugene clinic.

Willamette Family’s new Rapid Access Center and Medical Clinic opened January 2016 at 12th and Charnelton, and after serving 123 clients in the first month, Willamette Family says it now serves around 1,000 people per month. 

In a recent newsletter, Willamette Family writes, “This number is staggering and only goes to show how many people are seeking help. It is our goal to stop the cycle of addiction and related disorders by treating the causes as well as the symptoms.” 

Associate Director Colleen Smith credits the quick rise in clients to the comprehensive care provided by the two new nurse practitioners, Valerie Thomas and Jin Park.

In 2010, Willamette Family received a grant through United Way that allowed it to start offering treatment for uninsured patients, and it says a $125,000 grant from Trillium Community Health Plan in 2014 allows the nonprofit to provide more affordable care for uninsured or lower income patients.

“We’re a convenient one-stop shop,” Care Coordinator Janet Bott says of the Rapid Access Center services which meld drug, alcohol and mental health programs with medical care.

Willamette Family began as the Buckley House when George and Honey Buckley decided to help those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and opened their home to house people seeking treatment. The Buckley House continued to serve and gradually expand throughout Lane County before rebranding to Willamette Family Inc., in 2003. The Buckley House that opened in 1967 still exists and provides “sobering services” across from Washington-Jefferson Park.

Willamette Family now has eight locations throughout Lane County and has specialized programs for men, women and families. Programs range from substance abuse to child’s mental health to housing for recovering families.

Willamette Family attributes its increase in numbers treated at its Rapid Access Center to its individualized care. There are eight peer-support employees, people who have struggled in the past with substance abuse or other problems, that help the clients feel more comfortable. Peer-support employees help the patients stay on top of their medication, organize transportation and act as a guide through the treatment process.

“We want to reduce patient stress and give them the best care possible,” Smith tells EW. “We want everyone who comes in to be treated like they are the only person here.”

The nonprofit cites collaborations with other care providers in Lane County, such as White Bird and Trillium, as a reason for its ability to provide comprehensive treatment.  

“We bring hope,” Smith says. “Hope lives here.”