By Nancy Tannnler
Being first generation Vietnamese immigrants Hai Nguyen and his brother Hoang are grateful for the opportunities America has offered them. They opened the Columbia Medical Clinic P.C., 3127 SE 82nd Ave. in 2010 and since that time opened two more branches in southeast.
The brothers came here with their parents and two other siblings over twenty years ago when South Vietnamese military families were offered political asylum in the United States. The family settled in Vancouver where the four Nguyen children attended school. Hai and his brother graduated from the University of Washington, Hoang became a doctor and Hoa received an MBA.
All through his college years Hai and his brother, who had already become a doctor, focused on the idea of managing a health clinic after he graduated. They thought of how their clinic would differ from what’s already available and one of the first ideas was to have several languages spoken and interpreters available for the languages they don’t cover. “I spoke English sooner than my mom so I would often have to accompany her to the doctors office to translate. That was a little embarrassing for a teenage boy,” Hai said. At Columbia Clinic it is easy to communicate effectively with the doctor/ therapists/staff and the patients.
Another feature of the Columbia Medical Clinic is that they offer comprehensive care so a patient does not have to leave the building to get their needs met. They provide a broad spectrum of care from birth to adolescence to geriatric care, including Primary Care, Urgent Care, Accident Care, Flu Shot Services, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and oriental medicine. There is a pharmacy on site so if you need a prescription filled it can be done before you leave the building.
“If someone has been injured or is hurting, the last thing they want to do is drive around in their car to see specialists or fill prescriptions,” Hai said. “We’ve simplified a business service that has become complicated over the years.” Plus this arrangement saves time, something no one ever has enough of.
Another integral part of their business plan is to improve the health, not only of the patients but, of the community by being a part of it. Hai has been on the steering committee for the Jade District. He’s helped make the 82nd Ave of Roses parade the success it has become. He’s worked to clean up the street and add a sense of belonging to the businesses and the customers that frequent the area. “This is a very diverse community and I feel that it is our responsibility to be active and participate in building relationships to all the different people in the area,” Hai said.
The clinic operates on an old school method where there is a lot of communication between the nurses, staff and doctors. They purposefully designed the clinic in such a way that the doctors always pass by their assistant’s desk before seeing a patient, in case there’s something that they need to know, good communication being the most effective way to help their patients. Doctors also can recommend different doctors or modalities in the clinic to affect a cure. “We strive to keep the flow interactive.”
The Columbia Clinic also accepts all insurances and will work with people in dire need.
The idea of their clinic style has enabled them to open two other branches in the area. They have an office at Mall 205 and 165th & SE Division.
“We [Hai and Hoang] are grateful to the educational opportunities and all we’ve been given, we want to make the best use of this by doing something good for our community,” Hai said.
Columbia Medical Clinic is located at 3127 SE 82nd. Ave. of Roses, 503.777.5995, www.columbiaclinic.com.