Grant funds Care Clinic another year

Doors remain open

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An indigent medical clinic that was threatened by county budget cuts received grant money that will guarantee to keep the doors open for another year.

The Caring For Colorado Foundation notified The Memorial Hospital last week that the foundation would be awarding the hospital $50,000 for the Moffat County Care Clinic.

The Memorial Hospital Foundation applied for the grant on behalf of the hospital. Soon, the money will be dispersed to the hospital foundation, which will pass it to TMH.

The hospital foundation was created as a private, nonprofit entity that could seek funds not normally available to public applicants, such as government bodies and county hospitals, said Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps.

Phelps announced the grant award at a meeting of TMH's Board of Trustees Wednesday. He also told the board about the successful VIP Waiters Dinner, which raised $3,000 for the foundation on Valentine's Day.

The grant for the care clinic will pay for one year of continued operations. A second, $50,000 grant for the following year is also available. That award will be contingent upon the clinic's performance, Phelps said.

The Caring For Colorado Foundation will want to know, "did we do what we said we'd do with the money?" Phelps said.

The money was specifically targeted to pay for salaries for personnel to run the clinic.

The clinic, located in the north end of The Memorial Hospital, treats indigent clients on a sliding scale. Historically, it has been funded jointly by TMH and Moffat County.

Hospital officials say the clinic saves TMH money in the end by providing preventative health care to indigent patients who otherwise might show up in the emergency room. Either way, TMH will end up seeing the patients, but the Care Clinic is a less costly and more appropriate venue for routine medical procedures, officials said.

Since 1994, the county has helped subsidize the clinic by earmarking $39,600 for its operation.

In December, county officials reduced TMH's budget by $50,000, including funding for the clinic. TMH budgeted for continued operation of the clinic despite the loss of county funding.

But the grant award will guarantee the clinic's future, which was potentially at stake.

"This takes the Care Clinic off the radar screen for being vulnerable," Phelps said.

Even with the county funding, TMH was subsidizing more than half of the clinic's operating budget. The loss of the county money further strained TMH's financial position.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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