VNA acquires clinic

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A clinic for area residents who might not be able to afford health care elsewhere has changed management and locations.

This week, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association announced it had acquired Moffat County Care Clinic from The Memorial Hospital.

The Memorial Hospital had operated the clinic within the hospital for about 10 years. But providing health care to everyone in the community, including the uninsured, had become a challenge, hospital officials say. By allowing the Visiting Nurse Association to take over clinic operations, the program could continue, officials said.

As part of the transition, the clinic closed Tuesday and will open Jan. 4 at the Visiting Nurse Association's offices, 745 Russell St., also within the hospital.

During that time, anyone who needs care from the clinic should call his or her local medical provider or go to the emergency room, officials say.

Under terms of the acquisition, the Caring for Colorado Foundation, which provides ongoing funding for the clinic, will support VNA's efforts, officials say.

The clinic serves about 1,000 patients a year who don't have health insurance or are underinsured.

Last year, the Caring for Colorado Foundation gave The Memorial Hospital a $50,000 grant to support the clinic.

The foundation has agreed to allow The Memorial Hos--pital to transfer the balance of the grant -- $31,250 --o the VNA in the acquisition.

The Memorial Hospital will continue to assist the clinic with funding, mainly by providing diagnostic services and medical supplies, officials say.

"We know firsthand the importance of the Care Clinic and are very supportive of the VNA in their efforts to continue to provide quality health care to those individuals in need," said Susan McGough, interim director of The Memorial Hospital, in a prepared statement.

"Medical support is a key element needed that the hospital will provide, such as diagnostic testing and medical supplies, to name a few."

Sue Birch, executive director of the Visiting Nurse Association, said the acquisition of the clinic fits with the group's mission.

"The VNA is pleased to be able to continue to provide quality, affordable health care options for residents in Moffat County," Birch said in a prepared statement.

By taking over the clinic, the VNA, a nonprofit home hospice and public health agency, is coming full circle. The association oversaw the clinic before The Memorial Hospital took over operations 10 years ago.

When it reopens, the clinic will operate Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Its new phone number will be 871-7668.

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