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New dermatology office opens in Coupeville

Staff members at Family Dermatology opened up the office this week. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Staff members at Family Dermatology opened up the office this week.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey residents with odd-shaped moles, painful rashes or other skin-related concerns will no longer have to travel off the island to get an expert opinion.

Physicians assistant Reese Bliek teamed up with two dermatologists to open Family Dermatology in Coupeville this week. They already have 13 employees busily working in a swanky office building that used to house the defunct Island Medical Spa on S. Main Street.

“All the patients have been very happy that we’re here and we’re very happy to see them,” he said.

Bliek previously worked with beleaguered dermatologist Dr. Donald “Russell” Johnson, who’s currently wanted by police in connection with a domestic-violence case. The new business, however, has no connection to Johnson, other than the fact that Bliek has taken over Johnson’s patient files.

“It’s a 100 percent new business,” Bliek said.

Any of Johnson’s former patients who wants a copy of a medical file can now contact the office at 360-682-5024 or by fax at 360-682-5749. Or patients can just leave their records where they are and start seeing the Family Dermatology doctors.

When Johnson abruptly closed his dermatology offices and spas in Coupeville and Anacortes this summer, he left a total of approximately 33,000 patients without access to their records. Another doctor has the files from the Anacortes office, but Bliek said the bulk of the patients were on Whidbey Island.

Ever since the offices closed down, Bliek has been working hard to start a new clinic and bring a dermatologist back to the island. He ended up with two experienced skin doctors.

Dr. Paul Thompson, who has an office on the Olympic Peninsula, will see patients three days a week in Coupeville. Dr. Susan Oldenkamp, a dermatologist from Everett, will see patients on Mondays. In addition, a vascular surgeon will be at the office once a month.

“We will have cosmetic services in the future, but now we are taking care of general dermatology concerns and getting caught up with the backlog,” Bliek said.

Bliek originally wanted to rent the former dermatology clinic building, which is next door, and planned to bring more specialists to the island. But Whidbey General Hospital rented the space first.

Trish Rose, hospital spokeswoman, said Dr. Fru Bahiraei and Dr. Leah Oman of Whidbey General Hospital Surgical are moving to the building, effective Nov. 1. She said it will improve the surgical clinic’s ability to serve patients.

“Benefits of this move include better ADA access, more space, practice expansion, and growth opportunity,” she wrote in an email.

 

 

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