The first of five new medical centers opens in Gig Harbor Dec. 26. Photo: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente will open a new clinic in Gig Harbor Dec. 26 allowing those who receive care through that organization to see a primary care provider closer to home. Currently, the closest Kaiser clinics are in Port Orchard and Tacoma. 

The primary care clinic is located at 5216 Point Fosdick Drive NW, near Fred Meyer.

Byron Doepker, MD, will be the clinic chief and said he jumped at the chance when plans for the Gig Harbor location were announced. He completed his residency training at Group Health and worked at the Seattle location for several years. 

“I was steeped in the culture of Kaiser Permanente and Group Health and wanted to stay with the organization, but I wanted to work in a smaller community and clinic where I could take care of friends and neighbors,” Doepker said. “I’m excited to recreate the processes we have at Kaiser and optimize them for a smaller clinic. The people we are hiring are really committed to working and living in a community they know.” 

Doepker will be joined by another family physician, Laura Turgano, and a physician assistant, Darcie Baker. 

In August the health care organization, which acquired Group Health Cooperative in 2017, announced its plan to add five new medical centers over 18 months. It is part of a $400 million commitment on the part of Kaiser to expand throughout the region. 

The Gig Harbor location is the first new site to open. The office will offer services including primary care, behavioral health, lab, EKG and diabetic retinal scanning. Services may expand or change depending on what members use and need. There will be no change in hospitals used by Kaiser, which are St. Joseph in Tacoma and Harrison in Bremerton.