The Curry Coastal Pilot

It's not the free-standing hospital envisioned in a 2004 study by the City of Brookings, but the new Curry Medical Center is clearly the next-best thing.

More than 1,000 people packed the clinic's grand opening celebrations on Sunday, making another point: They understand that the clinic is a milestone in the future of Brookings and the services available here. It is a turning point in the history of health care services in our community.

"We live in one of the most beautiful locations andndash; amazing scenery, friendly people and a mild climate," Curry Health Network CEO Bill McMillan said at the ribbon cutting, "but we are rural and remote." As a result, we have not had the infrastructure for regular access to health care.

Though Brookings-Harbor is outside the Curry Health District, more than half of its billings are generated from the 97415 zip code. Guided by the city's study, and its own study about health care providers, it made sense for the Curry Health board to invest in Brookings-Harbor.

"Curry Medical Center is a vision realized," McMillan said. It's a "one-stop shop for primary care, specialty care, full diagnostic imaging and lab, and for routine procedures." The urgent care portion of the clinic is open, and attracting a fair number clients from the very first day. Curry Health Network continues to work with the state on plans to open an emergency room in the building, and it also continues to recruit additional health care providers to our community.

For all of which, we have to say "thank you." The beautiful new building, the up-to-date services and the growing list of providers are all welcome additions to our community.

The next step, of course, is whether Brookings area voters will want to join the Curry Health District so that we share in both the control and responsibilities of this vital service. That debate can start later; right now, let's simply celebrate.