Care Medical Group’s Occupational Medicine Department ensures the health and safety of Whatcom workers

Since 1997, Care Medical Group has provided Whatcom County with high quality urgent and primary care. Now a multi-specialty clinic, CMG has expanded into physiotherapy and occupational medicine through the current expertise of owner and medical director, Dr. Richard Wei, in the field.

“In medical school, Dr. Richard Wei developed an interest in occupational medicine,” says Katie Petterson, MA Labor Manager. He pursued a fellowship in the specialty at the University of Illinois and was later able to establish two occupational medicine clinics in New Orleans. “Unfortunately, in 2005, both of these clinics were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, which took Dr Wei to Bellingham, an area where he felt his expertise could be used.” CMG now serves and meets the needs of over 200 employers in our region.

Katie Petterson is the Senior Physician Assistant responsible for Care Medical Group’s Department of Occupational Medicine. Photo credit: Care Medical Group

“The Occupational Health Service provides services that help ensure workers are healthy and properly equipped to perform their jobs safely,” says Petterson. “This includes pre-employment, annual and asbestos physical exams, drug and alcohol testing, and a variety of X-rays and blood tests. We provide on-site services for many of these things.

Serving Whatcom Employers

Complying with occupational health and safety codes not only protects employees, but also employers. CMG’s Occupational Health Service serves a wide range of industries that employ manual labor.

Care Medical Group extended its hours of service at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering on-site testing. Photo credit: Care Medical Group

“We work with many different clients throughout the community,” says Petterson. “This includes fire and police departments, refineries, construction and manufacturing companies and CDL holders throughout the county.”

The occupational medicine department works regularly with employers and provides ongoing services to employees to address health and work conditions as they arise.

“Making a connection and building a good relationship with these customers is something we strive to execute,” says Petterson. “This is especially important so that we can better understand all of their needs and ensure that we are providing the services they need to keep their employees safe on the job.”

The Care Medical Group clinic is located at 4043 Northwest Avenue. Photo credit: Care Medical Group

Employers can register with the Occupational Health Service by calling 360.734.4300 ext 4, visiting the clinic, or emailing Patterson at kepetterson@hinet.org. “I’d love to answer any questions you have about opening an account with us,” says Petterson.

Serving Whatcom Employees

The health and safety at work of the employee is the absolute priority of the occupational medicine service. Employees in need of medical attention can trust the department’s medical assistants to provide comprehensive, high-quality care.

To meet OSHA and WISHA compliance, the department offers comprehensive testing, medical examinations and screenings, such as the Titanium Respiratory Questionnaire, to ensure workers are able to perform their jobs safely.

The Occupational Health Service treats occupational illnesses and injuries in addition to screenings that ensure employee wellness and OSHA compliance. Photo credit: Care Medical Group

“The most important part of occupational medicine is having expertise and knowledge and applying OSHA standards to ensure a healthy workforce,” says Petterson. “This is accomplished using task analysis, work capacity assessments, physical exams, lab work, pulmonary function tests, audiograms, blood and asbestos tests, drug and alcohol testing and adjustment testing.”

“Some services are offered without an appointment, such as DOT physical tests, drug and alcohol tests, hearing tests and respiratory fitness tests.” Peterson said. “We like to make sure that all of our clients are happy to work with us, so we guarantee quick responses and results from physical exams and other tests. We also offer additional services such as physiotherapy, emergency care and primary care ” “

Serving the Whatcom community

CMG receives most of its clients by word of mouth. The business network of the occupational medicine service regularly puts employees and business partners in touch with its services.

“One of my favorite things about occupational medicine is seeing all the companies we provide services for doing various jobs,” says Petterson. “Whether it’s the fire truck or the ambulance you drive, or the city of Bellingham striving to keep our parks beautiful.”

“We even had a local company and client of ours, RAM Construction, build our new clinic in 2020,” says Petterson. “It’s gratifying to be able to see firsthand the work we do and the impact it has on Bellingham and the surrounding areas.”

Care Medical Group’s team of occupational medicine physician assistants build lasting relationships with local businesses. Photo credit: Care Medical Group

Care Medical Group’s variety of services and extended hours make it easy for patients to access a comprehensive treatment plan that fits their schedule.

“We can usually schedule patients one to two days, so we have openings to bring in more patients for any additional services that are needed,” says Petterson. “Our goal is to continue to provide excellent quality and occupational health services to local business communities.”

Care Medical Group is located at 4043 Northwest Avenue and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Occupational Medicine, you can visit their website, www.caremg.com, call 360.734.4300 and dial extension 4, or email Petterson at kepetterson@hinet.org.

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