St. Michael Medical Center
Located in Silverdale, we care for people in Kitsap, North Mason, Clallam and Jefferson counties.
Community Resources Update
January 15, 2021
Expanding access to primary care in Bremerton
What you need to know
- Bremerton’s Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Family Medicine Clinic offers primary care for the whole family, with 24 resident physicians, 10 faculty physicians, and the capacity for 25,000 patient visits per year.
- Care is available virtually and on-site at the 27,000 square foot Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Family Medicine Clinic on Kitsap Way in Bremerton.
- St. Michael Medical Center’s Silverdale hospital in Silverdale is now open for emergency, trauma, inpatient, and surgical care.
Building healthier communities: Expanding access to primary care in Bremerton
Access to primary care could prevent millions of hospitalizations each year, according to the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The agency reports that timely, quality primary and preventative care could help Americans avoid around 3.5 million hospitalizations annually, saving $33.7 billion in hospital costs.
To meet the Peninsula region’s growing need for primary care, Michael Watson, MD, FAAFP, founded the Northwest Family Medicine Residency Program (NWFMRP). The program welcomed its first group of residents in 2018, and now includes three classes. Together with 10 faculty physicians, the 24 residents care for the community at the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Family Medicine Clinic in Bremerton.
Today, the program is fully staffed with the capacity to provide 25,000 primary care visits each year, said Dr. Watson. The program is affiliated with St. Michael Medical Center, giving patients access to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s nationally recognized network of providers and facilities, including the newly opened, state-of-the-art Silverdale hospital.
“I want the community to know that we’re here for them and that we are accepting new patients,” said Dr. Watson. “All people need to do is call our clinic to make an appointment, and we can help them get established with a primary care provider.”
The program’s residents are primary physicians trained to provide care in a wide range of areas, including family medicine, obstetrics, sports medicine, and addiction medicine. The clinic offers care for opiate use disorders, and an on-site licensed independent social worker provides counseling and behavioral health services.
The program’s robust community partnerships help boost health literacy, expand access to health resources, and provide essential healthcare. Current community partners include the Central Kitsap School District and The Coffee Oasis; beginning in January, a new partnership with the Salvation Army Bremerton will offer free healthcare services one Saturday per month.
This July, the program moved to a 27,000 square foot clinic at 4207 Kitsap Way in Bremerton. “The space gives us 150 percent of the clinical space we had before, with 30 exam rooms and six dedicated procedural rooms,” said Dr. Watson. “As of this year, we also offer telehealth services through a secure online platform supported by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.”
High-quality primary and family care saves time and money, and finding a provider doesn’t need to be intimidating, said Dr. Watson. “Nobody should have to go without primary care, especially during a pandemic. We’re proud to have the opportunity to care for the community in Bremerton this year and for years to come.”