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Harborview Officials Say They Will Not Close Or Relocate Primary Care Clinics

Officials overseeing Harborview Medical Center in Seattle have told staff by email they will not be closing or relocating the hospital’s clinics.

The fates of at least three primary care clinics on the main Harborview campus had been up in the air. Officials with UW Medicine, which runs the hospital, had said all along no decisions had been made. But staffers said they’d been told the clinics could close or move as early as this summer.

Then Wednesday afternoon interim executive director Johnese Spisso told staff by email that that was off the table: “Harborview Medical Center is not closing or relocating any of the existing Harborview primary care clinics. We continue our unwavering commitment to serving all patients at Harborview, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Patient Edith Jackson lives right near Harborview, where she said she’s been going for more than 30 years. She’s said relieved the women’s clinic won’t be moving across town.

“I don’t have transportation,” she said. “I don’t drive, so it would have been hard for me to relocate somewhere else.”

Advocates and union members were planning to protest the possible move at a Thursday morning meeting of the hospital board of trustees. That protest was hastily canceled after word spread about the email from Harborview administrators.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.