The availability of medical services in Selah has increased significantly this fall with the arrival of the Best Practices Healthcare Center off East Goodlander Road.
A multi-specialty family medical clinic opened Nov. 2 on one side of the former Astria Health clinic at 715 N. Park Drive — which closed earlier this year — and a separate urgent care center will open on the other side of the facility in December. A Best Practices behavioral health clinic is expected to open in the spring.
Swart and his wife, Janis, partnered with Sunny and Sheeba Bhaskaran, owners of Pinnacle Sleep Center, on the venture to bring urgent care, behavioral health and family medical services to town.
The Swarts and Bhaskarans already have hired an experienced team of medical professionals who will staff the urgent care clinic. Longtime local nurse practitioner Stacie Olson will be joined by physician assistant Tim Ausink and family nurse practitioner Kaylee Vantrease, who will split time between the two clinics.
Vantrease is already seeing family medicine patients, along with nurse practitioner Jody Gray. Former Astria nurse Rhonda Beecroft also has joined the team, but she continues to help at the Yakima Best Practices clinic and the Pinnacle Sleep Center until urgent care opens.
Janis Swart works as a nurse and manages the office, along with Beecroft and Tina Roberts. Kim Roberts and Melissa Benscoter are taking care of the front desk duties.
“I’m super excited about this opportunity, for several reasons,” said Janis Swart, who has been a nurse in the Yakima Valley since 1988. “First, I’m excited that we’ve been able to find so many great employees who have years of experience working in the Valley. Astria’s loss was our gain.
“The other reason it means so much to me is that I was born and raised in Selah,” she added. “Independent, family-owned business is in my blood, and opening this clinic is very close to my heart.”
Swart talked about the experiences her father, Ervin Shipley, had running the old Selah drive-in theater and, later, the Wenas Seed and Rental Store (which he owned for 35 years).
She believes in taking care of her neighbors and serving them as individuals, not numbers — which often occurs at larger clinics. What sets Best Practices apart from the “corporate medicine” model, Swart says, is the level of personal attention the staff pays to its patients.
“Our goal is to take really good care of people and treat them like we would like to be treated,” she said. “After working as a nurse for 32 years, I know that you can make someone’s day just by being kind. Treat them with respect, listen to them and let them know they are heard. That goes a long way.”
Janis and Greg Swart met in the early 1990s when they both worked as nurses at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. Greg went on to work for Cornerstone Medical Clinic in Yakima for eight years before starting the Yakima Avenue Medical Clinic 11 years ago.
A few years later, the clinic moved across the street and became Best Practices Medical Clinic. As more and more patients gravitated toward their personal-service model, the couple began looking at expansion opportunities.
Greg Swart believes the new Best Practices Healthcare Center will help not only Selah residents, but the entire Yakima Valley medical community.
“We hope to reduce unnecessary ER visits and provide a convenient option for people who live over here,” he said. “We’ve hired a seasoned team of providers, and they will be a great addition to Selah health care. I’m excited, because we really need this.”
“It just feels good to take care of people, and that’s why we are here,” Janis added.