A network of 12 Craig-based health and human services groups received an $85,000 grant from the federal government this week.
The network will use the money to examine the feasibility of taking over the current The Memorial Hospital building when it moves to its new facility later this year.
The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration awarded the funds to the Moffat County Human Service Partnership.
The group includes:
• Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association
• Advocates-Crisis Support Services
• Boys & Girls Club of Craig
• Integrated Community
• Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership
• Horizons Specialized Services
• Independent Life Center
• Moffat County Social Services
• Moffat County School District
• Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition
• Colorado West Regional Mental Health, the parent group of Craig Mental Health
Suzi Mariano, VNA public information coordinator, said the new network is an extension of the relationship the groups have fostered looking at various community issues before now.
The group's plan is to come together and decide whether the TMH building would be an appropriate place to house one or more of the organizations involved.
"That's why everyone's involved," Mariano said, "to find the best use of this facility and find the needs of each organization."
The group hopes to be able to provide a centralized location for all health and human service groups to better help Northwest Colorado's underserved populations.
The grant money will fund a part-time network coordinator position, who will lead the group in an executive capacity.
The rest of the money will go toward engineering and architectural assessments of the hospital building, both of which will help the group decide whether it's affordable and reasonable to pursue acquiring the building in some way, Mariano said.
The network's formation and the receipt of the grant do not mean the VNA or any other organization is committed to purchasing or renting all or part of the hospital, said Sue Birch, VNA chief executive officer.
"It's too soon to say," she said. "I can tell you we are eager to start working together and engaging the community about what will be the most beneficial use for the hospital building."
U.S. Congressman John Salazar issued a statement regarding the grant award. He reiterated his support for improving rural Colorado health care.
"We all know that rural areas like Moffat County face huge challenges when it comes to health care," Salazar said. "I applaud the goal of the Moffat County Human Service Partnership, and I hope this funding will help it in its mission to create quality, affordable health care for the community and neighbors of Moffat County."