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Posted 11/5/2013

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By Tanya King
Seattle District Public Affairs

It was down to the wire. On the Friday before the end of Fiscal Year 2012 Patricia Fatherree, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District Realty Operations Branch chief, worked late into the night to secure a lease for a small but important piece of property.

She was looking for a building which would later become the Madigan-South Sound Community Medical Home, a satellite clinic of Madigan Army Medical Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., providing patient centered primary health care to patients living in the surrounding Olympia area.

A few months prior, Fatherree and her Seattle District Real Estate team secured a lease and moved to the next step in the process, which was to collect bids from contractors to renovate the space and turn it into a medical clinic. With a $740,000 budget, they were forced back to square one after the bids came in at $1.3 million.

If Fatherree didn’t secure a lease, Ann Horrell, group practice manager for the Madigan-South Sound Community Medical Home in Olympia, Wash., told her the money to build the clinic would most likely not available in the next fiscal year and the clinic just wouldn’t get built. With the process typically taking between six months and a year, she didn’t have much time to start over, but she said she was determined to make things work.

"I had no faith the deal would go through," Horrell said. "We got up to the end of the day on Friday and Patricia, at every turn, said we are going to get this done. By Saturday, she pulled through. She’s always so positive."

"At the old clinic, I was told people were practically sitting in each other’s laps," said Fatherree, who is a glass-half-full kind of person. "I just refused to believe we couldn’t make a deal and get them a clinic."

"We did this in record time," Fatherree said. "At 7 p.m. on Thursday, I was still negotiating. Within 24 hours we had all the documents. It still had to go to USACE Northwestern Division for approval."

When Fatherree finally got the permissions and paperwork she needed on the eve of the end of the fiscal year, she called Horrell with the good news. "Yes, we got a lease. Yes, we get to keep the money. Yes, we get to build a clinic."

The clinic will be able to serve 8,200 patients while the pharmacy will potentially serve 20,000, which takes some pressure off Madigan and keeps patients from driving 20 miles to receive care.

"The clinic serves active duty family members and a limited number of retirees, which has a great effect on peoples’ lives," said Fatherree, who takes great pride in the role she plays to help her customers get what they need. "Each contract has a story. Each story has a need and that means something to me."

"Our patients are first. That’s just all there is to it," said Horrell, who leads the team that created and now runs the clinic. "We have a patient-centered care mindset and Patricia is like that too. Patricia went out of her way to make sure we had what we needed for our patients. She truly she saved us. We would not have this clinic without her."