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The Student News Site of Arcata High School

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The Pepperbox

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Questions answered about new Arcata OpenDoor clinic

“It’s ready to see patients right now.”
The+new+OpenDoor+clinic%2C+which+has+yet+to+open.
Anthony Vasek
The new OpenDoor clinic, which has yet to open.

With over ten years in the making, the preparation of the new Open Door health clinic is still ongoing.

The new clinic is slotted directly between Foster and Sunset Ave in Arcata, near where the Sunset Apartments were built about six years ago. It will be able to accommodate over 600 more patients than the current two clinics can handle when combined, improving medical outreach across Arcata.

The clinic originally planned to begin taking patients by the first week of 2024. With the building being physically ready, all the clinic waits for is a permit which they submitted paperwork for back in early November. 

Permits of this kind don’t usually take more than a couple months.
Cheyenne Spetzler, the Senior Vice President of Development at OpenDoor, hopes they will receive their permit by the end of January and be licensed to open shortly after.

“We got a lot of infrastructure already in place. When [practitioners] move, they’ll just be moving their chair and their personal stuff. It’s ready to see patients right now,” Spetzler said.

The two current Arcata OpenDoor clinics were never originally intended to be healthcare facilities, but were older buildings rented and repurposed to function as such. 

The construction of the new clinic focused on mending one of the oldest issues with these old OpenDoor clinics–lack of parking–by providing around 100 parking spots for patients.

In addition to all that, the layout planned for the building will allow for practitioners to provide more efficient healthcare. 

“The way we work best in primary care is in these pod configurations where all of the clinicians and their support staff sit in a big room, and then they have their exam rooms where they see patients adjacent to the pod,” Spetzler explained.

This format was also used when she helped plan and build the new Fortuna, Crescent City, and Yreka OpenDoor clinics. 

“I think people are nervous about the pod model because they haven’t done it. At all the other locations where we implemented the model, people do like it,” said Spetzler.

Teen Clinic, which provides free, confidential healthcare and counseling to teens across Humboldt, will migrate to the new building once it opens. Spetzler described designing a stairway during the planning process that will lead up to Teen Clinic.

As for what will happen to the two old clinics, the answer isn’t quite clear yet. We do know that all current Arcata Open Door patients and practitioners will be migrated to the new clinic.

“One of the things we’re looking at is what services are currently in rented buildings that could go into [the old clinic] buildings,” Spetzler said. “I also know people in our organization have an interest in housing. At one point, we looked at whether we could do housing in those buildings. But that seems like too big of a lift right now.”

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About the Contributor
Anthony Vasek, Managing Editor
Anthony Vasek has been a reporter for the Pepperbox, a student-run publication with nearly a century of history, since 2022. This year he is excited to use his knowledge to take on an editorial role. His coverage revolves mostly around sensitive topics, such as mental health and drug use. He also does a great deal of graphic design, leading the class in InDesign during each layout session. Two articles of his have won both first and second place, respectively, in the Feature category of the Jackie Awards. Personally, he has a strong belief towards the supremacy of felines and fish.
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