By Don Nelson
The transition continues at the former Methow Valley Family Practice in Twisp, where new owner Family Health Centers (FHC) hosted a grand opening on June 17.
The clinic had actually changed hands on May 1, when ownership transferred to FHC from longtime local physician Dr. Joe Jensen, who had acquired it in 1992.
Jensen’s full-time involvement will end in August; he will continue to work at the clinic under a contract. Another physician will join the practice in September. Dr. Allison Fitzgerald, who has worked at the Twisp clinic before, will relocate to the Methow Valley with her family. Fitzgerald, who was at the grand opening, said she is looking forward to getting back to hands-on community health care.
A new sign has been installed outside the clinic, and Jensen said some exterior remodeling is planned for the clinic on West Second Avenue. But hours will remain the same — 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday — as will the phone number, 997-2011. Steve Brown, manager of FHC’s Omak Medical Clinic, will also oversee the Twisp clinic.
Jensen, who has been in practice for 43 years, acquired the Twisp clinic after legendary Methow Valley physician Dr. William Henry retired, having operated the practice for 30 years. Henry’s daughter, Cindy Button, is executive director of Aero Methow Rescue Service in Twisp.
FHC, a nonprofit health care system based in Okanogan and established in 1985, provides health care services for all Okanogan County residents, including dental care and some pharmacies. It has locations in Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Oroville, Tonasket and Bridgeport, and recently opened a family dental clinic in Twisp in the former office of Dr. John Nickell.
FHC clinics serve anyone regardless of their ability to pay, and that will be the policy in Twisp as well.