Meetings will help gauge need for new clinic

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The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is hosting meetings in Moffat and Routt counties next month to gauge whether the region wants or needs a federally funded Community Health Center for people who lack adequate health insurance.

Mindy Klowden of the Colorado Community Health Network will provide an overview of what Community Health Centers are.

A Community Health Center's mission is to serve underinsured and uninsured residents. The centers provide family-oriented primary health care and preventative services for people living in medically underserved communities -- places where economic, geographic or cultural barriers limit access to primary health care.

"There is a certain model, and requirements communities must follow to qualify for the designation," Klowden said. "We are coming to the region to share the information with the communities."

CCHN provides technical assistance to communities interested in securing funding for a federally funded Community Health Center, which is also sometimes referred to as a Federally Qualified Health Center.

Klowden said Friday that many communities have converted existing clinics into a FQHC, but she said it was too soon to speculate whether the county's indigent care clinic, the Moffat County Care Clinic, would qualify. The Care Clinic is operated by The Memorial Hospital.

Cece Carsky of the VNA said the meetings are a way to see whether there is any interest in the Community Health Center concept and to assess if there is a need for a regional clinic.

"We are targeting those in the human service field along with anyone from the public that is interested," she said.

The meetings are scheduled for April 15. The Steamboat meeting is a 7 a.m. at the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Conference Room 1. The second meeting will be at The Memorial Hospital in the board room at noon.

Because its resources are scarce, CCHN gives preference to communities that meet the following criteria:

  • Are interested in converting an existing clinic to a Community Health Center.
  • Have a low-income population (population under 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level) greater than the state average.
  • Have limited access for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus enrollees.
  • Meet a minimum threshold of 70 points on the federal Need for Assistance worksheet.
  • Have been identified as a high-need area via CHCN's Statewide Strategic Planning process.
  • Are not currently served by an existing CHC.

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