Farmer to open Yakima Vision Center

The Group Health Cooperative eye care center will close next month, but the doctors will still see their patients.

Susan Laible Farmer, one of the eye doctors at the clinic, will open the Yakima Vision Center on May 12 at the same building at 2010 W. Lincoln Ave.

Farmer, who moved to Yakima from Portland more than 14 years ago to open and manage the Group Health center here, said she wanted to stay in town.

Farmer retained much of the staff, including optician Dave Underwood, who was the optical manager at the clinic for the last 10 years.

Joining them will be Mark Ward, who previously worked as an optometrist at Shopko on Summitview Avenue.

The closure of Group Health's eye care center is part of a change in the business model of the Seattle-based insurance provider.

Previously, most of the company's 20,000 members in Yakima County would have to go to a Group Health eye care center for in-network vision care. Now they can go to any eye doctor or clinic that is part of Group Health's network.

Members have already received letters about the changes as well as forms to forward their eye care records to the doctor of their choice.

Farmer will be part of that network. But Farmer emphasized that her clinic is not limited to current Group Health members, as they can service patients with other major insurance plans.

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