Advocates Crisis Support to merge with community clinics at Memorial Regional Health | CraigDailyPress.com

Advocates Crisis Support to merge with community clinics at Memorial Regional Health

CRAIG — In the wake of a troubled past, a new merger seeks to provide stability and a fresh start for a 40-year-old organization that is the sole provider of victims' advocacy and victims' services in Moffat County.

On May 1, Advocates‐Crisis Support Services will merge with Community Clinics at Memorial Regional Health, or CCMRH — a nonprofit corporation formed by Memorial Regional Health.

"Services will continue without interruption," wrote Scott Middleton, Advocates board chair, in a news release.

Beka Warren, MRH vice president of quality and risk, will assume oversight of Advocates, while Interim Director Dan Bingham will step back into the role of a full-time advocate, something he said he wants to do.

He, along with three other staff members, will become employees of MRH, and CCMRH will contract with MRH for services. The organization is also expected to undergo a name change.

"This merger helps Advocates address our immediate administrative needs," Middleton said.

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Former Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe stepped down as executive director of the organization in February as a cost-saving measure, leaving Bingham to juggle the job of director and advocate.

"Providing assistance to people in their darkest times is too important of a service to risk losing," said CCMRH President Jennifer Riley.

The merger of an advocacy organization and health care system is somewhat unusual for Colorado, but not without precedent.

"Usually, they (advocates) fall under a law enforcement platform, though there are a few health care based advocacy groups nationwide," Bingham said.

Advocates and health care providers operate with similar confidentiality and privacy issues and deal with the effects of trauma on health.

"Sexual assault and domestic violence create both visible and invisible wounds that we deal with and help people move forward from," Bingham said.

A working partnership between Advocates and MRH has existed for many years.

"It isn’t work we typically do ourselves, but working with Advocates volunteers is something we do every day, and it fits our mission … to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve," Riley said.

Merging the two organization is also expected to strengthen Advocates' ability to continue to seek funding. It's already generating new excitement for staff.

"The employees are excited about merging with MRH. Everyone there has been open arms and like it's adding to the family," Bingham said. "It's nice to know we are wanted and needed.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

How to reach them

Advocates Crisis Support Services
They provide confidential assistance to victims of crimes without regard to age, race, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.

Services include:
• 24-hour hotline
• Counseling and support
• Emergency safe shelter
• Referrals and information
• Protective order assistance
• Personal advocacy and support
• Criminal Justice and Judicial advocacy
• 24-hr crisis counseling
• Community education
• Safety planning
• Children’s advocacy

All services are confidential and free.

To learn more call the office: 970-824-9709
Or for help call the crisis line 24/7 at 970-824-2400 or for emergencies dial 911.