A new doctor’s office is in town, bringing San Juan Island’s clinic count up to three.
Heather Christensen has just launched the Friday Harbor Family Clinic, located across the street from the United States Post Office at 235 Blair Avenue.
Dr. Mark Fishaut, who previously worked as a pediatrician at Eventide, is coming out of retirement to join the practice. Christensen and Fishaut have worked together at Eventide since she moved to the island in 2015.
“After letting him know my plans for starting a clinic he wanted to join me in my efforts to continue with commitments to our long term families and to the community at large as well as communities that remain underserved,” Christensen said.
Her career in the medical field kicked off with her working in hospital laboratories doing general lab testing as a Medical Technologist. After enjoying her work, she decided that she wanted to have more hands-on interaction with patients. This drove her to pursue her master’s degree in physician assistant studies and become certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Since then, she has been working as a physician assistant in primary care and women’s health for 11 years.
However, the idea of opening a new practice on the island was not always at the forefront of Christensen’s mind. She was considering moving off of the island with her husband and children. It was when her husband began suffering from health complications that she realized the community’s need for plentiful and quality healthcare options. So, she decided to stay and began to brainstorm ideas for opening a practice.
“My husband grew up on Lopez and my kids have grown up here so we are all happy to be staying in this community,” she said.
It is confirmed that they are opening soon, but do not have a set date yet because they are still determining what insurance the clinic will accept. As of now, she said they are committed to accepting Medicare and Medicaid and most insurance plans. They are also figuring out accommodations for those without insurance or insurance they accept.
Despite the uncertain open date, Christensen said those who wish to receive care at Friday Harbor Family Clinic can begin requesting transfers from their current doctor’s office.
The family clinic can be reached by phone at 360-370-5971 or by mail at 235 Blair Ave., PO Box 796.
“Islanders can expect the same quality care from Friday Harbor Family Clinic that has been proven by me over time,” Christensen said. “I will be updating the public when the clinic will be opening and what to expect when that happens.”