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VNA seeks recovery opportunities

Community group delves into questions about current TMH building

Collin Smith

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is on the hunt for federal recovery funds to renovate and possibly add space to its current facility.

Lisa Brown, VNA development director, said her organization is waiting to hear about a roughly $300,000 recovery grant that would add at least four new exam rooms to the existing community health center in Craig.

Those new rooms, along with the expectation that two new medical providers will join the staff this summer, should help the VNA see more patients than it is now, Brown said.

The VNA’s community health center in Craig is a federally qualified health center, which means it receives larger government payments than other health care providers.

The intent is to fund a better primary care network for under- and uninsured patients.

“That’ll really help with people calling in who need to be seen,” Brown said. “The whole purpose of a federally qualified health center is access to care.”

The VNA received preliminary news Monday about a second grant through the federal recovery package, which the organization could apply for in August.

Brown was unsure how much funding would be available, but she said VNA officials hope to use the money to build a third floor on top of the existing clinic at 745 Russell St. and add to the main and basement levels that already exist.

“We’re certainly going to apply for funding,” Brown said. “It’s highly competitive, though, so we’ll see how that goes.”

She added VNA officials are not aware of any available grants to purchase property, such as The Memorial Hospital’s current building, which TMH is scheduled to vacate later this year when its new facility west of town is finished.

Without any leads on how to buy the property, the VNA instead is trying to make the best of what money is available.

“Our focus right now is to build the best clinic we can to serve the people there in Craig,” Brown said. “That’s what we will work to do first.”

A larger community group has taken up the question of what to do with the hospital’s existing facility.

The Moffat County Human Service Partnership had its first meeting after receiving an $85,000 grant from the federal government earlier this month.

The 15-member group plans to fund a feasibility study for renovating the TMH building and learn whether it would be more realistic to dispose of the hazardous materials inside and remodel the 60,000-square-foot facility or bulldoze it and build something new.

The Human Service Partnership consists of:

• the VNA

• 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

• TMH

• Colorado West Regional Mental Health, the parent group of Craig Mental Health

• City of Craig

• Moffat County Commission

• Colorado Northwestern Community College

The group hopes to find a way to build a unified health and human services cooperative where the hospital now sits, one way or another.

“The thought is to provide convenient, accessible one-stop shopping for the underserved populations” of the region, said Gena Hinkemeyer, network director for the group.

For now, the organizations plan to brainstorm what they would need in a facility and try to create a development strategy and a sustainable operations plan for a joint building space, Hinkemeyer said.

The group also plans to host several community input meetings in the future to gauge what residents would like to see become of the TMH building.

“It’d be a shame to let the building go to waste,” Hinkemeyer said. “We don’t want it to end up like Rock Springs (in Wyoming). When their hospital moved, their downtown just about shriveled away.”


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