Public questioning Clinic's future
January 13, 2022 | View PDF
BLUE RIVER: In March of 2021 the Oregon Business Magazine named Orchid Health 29th on its list of the “100 Best Places to Work in Oregon.” The data came from confidential surveys of employees who ranked various aspects of their organizations. As the year came to a close, readers of River Reflections voted Orchid Health’s McKenzie River Clinic as their choice for the Valley’s “Business of the Year.”
A flurry of posts on social media this week, though, have been critical of the local clinic’s operations. Some of the harsher comments have questioned whether Orchid should continue to be the local area’s health provider.
At the core of the concerns were the decisions of Dr. Tia Cloke and the clinic’s office manager, Shainy Love, to resign. The Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries has not responded to a request for information on whether or not a hostile work environment complainant had been filed with the agency.
“Due to employment laws, and the respect we have for previous and current employees, we cannot share details regarding the recent staffing changes,” according to Orchid spokesman Jonny Cantrell.
The clinic, though, re-mains open during regular business hours. “We will have a provider onsite twice a week, with telehealth available during regular hours, and are continuing to refill prescriptions and offer referrals,” Cantrell said.
People can expect that schedule to continue through January. “We will provide ongoing communication via our Facebook page and email with patients for updates around February and the future,” Cantrell added.
Other details include visiting physicians who will include Dr. Marty Grasmeder, Dr. Joe Volpi, Andrew White PA-C, and Chelsea Sloane PA-C.
Val Rapp is president of McKenzie Valley Wellness, the local non-profit that owns the lot where the original McKenzie River Clinic stood before it burned in the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. McKenzie Valley Wellness had brought in Orchid Health to take over day-to-day duties at the McKenzie River Clinic before the fire.
Rapp says that the local organization, with a board of local residents, was the recipient of $1.8 million of state funds that were approved to rebuild the clinic. “We will use it to build a new Clinic on the same lot in Blue River, right across from the post office,” Rapp says.
The two organizations are independent. Orchid Health manages the medical practice at their McKenzie River Clinic and operates a business while McKenzie Valley Wellness is a non-profit corporation.
Rapp said her organization is currently in the process of designing a replacement structure. “Our job right now is to build the new Clinic building,” she said. “We are excited to put up a beautiful, new Clinic where the community can get health care. We have a Request for Proposals out right now to architectural firms. Once we have a new building, we will offer other health-related services in addition to the primary care that Orchid offers”
Orchid Health also maintains clinics in Estacada, Oakridge, and Fern Ridge, as well as Blue River.
Cantrell said providers from across the Orchid structure will be helping with Telehealth. Details about the providers: can be found at https://blog.orchidhealth.org/post/serving-mckenzie-river.
“We will be posting job openings as soon as they become available,” Cantrell said. “We have a great relationship with McKenzie Wellness and look forward to our ongoing partnership.”