Roger Bouck RotaCare Free Health Clinic in Lake City turning over operations to Seattle Indian Health Board

Monday, August 2, 2021

Roger and Lovell Bouck
By Karen and Greg Schaeffer

RotaCare’s History

Rotarian Roger Bouck lived the Rotarian motto, service above self, every chance he got throughout his long and active life. After being in a life-threatening auto accident in his mid-twenties, he resolved to devote the rest of his life to service, and he did so with energy and enthusiasm.
 
He was a mediator at Boeing who, after he retired, participated in the Boeing Bluebills (retired Boeing Employees who donate their time to the community) and among other activities, he volunteered at the Lake City Food Bank. While there, he observed that many who needed food also needed medical care but were unable to afford it.
 
At that point, he decided to start a free medical clinic and, in 2006, persuaded North Helpline food bank to provide RotaCare with 480 square feet of space in the old Lake City Firehouse. In 2010, RotaCare moved into a 2,400 square ft. space within the new McDermott Place Low Income Housing Building, where North Helpline Food Bank and Emergency Services are currently located.

Rotary Clubs of Lake Forest Park and Shoreline, along with many other community collaborators, agreed to fund the project annually. Rotarian and architect Marlin Gabbert designed the space and other Rotarians helped put up walls, painted the entire clinic and moved in furniture. 

RotaCare has always been a work of the hands of many, including hundreds of volunteer medical professionals and registrars and included the participation of U.W. medical students and preceptors, who practiced twice a month at RotaCare for more than 10 years.

RotaCare has also been a work of the hearts of those many volunteers, in fact the motto was “healthcare with a heart.” The dream of Roger’s heart was to provide medical care for homeless, uninsured and underinsured patients. He initially invited several doctors, nurses and a pharmacist to volunteer their skilled services at the clinic every Saturday. 

He negotiated with Northwest Hospital to provide labs and imaging at no charge to patients. He also obtained donated medical equipment and supplies. Roger accomplished all of this while battling lung cancer. By 2008, knowing his time was limited, he recruited Rotarian Greg Schaeffer, a specialist in healthcare IT, as Board President. His wife, Karen Schaeffer, with experience managing non-profits, was also recruited by Roger and served as board President, with Greg serving as VP/Treasurer since 2010.

RotaCare Transfers Space and Assets to Seattle Indian Health Board as they begin a New Chapter Providing Low-Cost Healthcare in Lake City

For the past 15 years, RotaCare has served the North end every Saturday, providing free health care and prescriptions to those in need. However, an amazing opportunity arose where it became clear to the RotaCare Board that it was in the best interests of the community to transfer their assets to a new organization, Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) who will provide medical care in Lake City Monday through Saturday.
 
Seattle Indian Health Board has agreed to lease the space from North Helpline beginning this fall, offering a broad set of patient services, including an in-house pharmacy. Celebrating this transition, 40+ volunteers gathered at the Schaeffer home to say farewell to RotaCare and welcome SIHB to the neighborhood.

To the right are North Helpline Executive Director, Kelly Brown; SIHB President and CEO, Esther Lucero; COO of SIHB, Ryan Gilbert; and Karen Schaeffer (RotaCare).


Seattle Indian Health Board is a community health organization that provides health and human services to all of its patients, while specializing in the care of Native people. Their highest priority is to provide culturally appropriate, high quality, and accessible health and human services – regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. For this reason, SIHB offers Sliding Fee Scale Discounts for a variety of services.

SIHB Services include:
  • Exams, immunizations, screening tests for children and adults
  • Care for minor and acute illnesses
  • Well-child exams, immunizations, and screening tests
  • School, camp and sports physical exams
  • Chronic disease diagnosis and treatment
  • Family planning care and counseling
  • Laboratory tests
  • Pharmacy and low-cost prescriptions

Seattle Indian Health Board celebrated their 50th anniversary doing what they do best, which is mobilizing to address the needs of the community. They serve approximately 6,000 patients annually in King County, and more than 4,000 of those identify as American Indian and/or Alaska Native, and they employ more than 180 people. 

SIHB is a non-profit and accepts donations on their website. If you are interested in knowing more about SIHB or donating to them, please contact them at: Seattle Indian Health Board - For the Love of Native People (sihb.org)

The clinic is located at 12736 33rd Ave NE #200, Seattle, WA 98125 in the North Helpline building.



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