In 25 years, Marillac Clinic grows from 3 employees to 60

Marillac Clinic opened in May 1988 with three employees, a small office south of St. Mary’s Hospital and a mission to offer affordable health care to uninsured Mesa County residents.

Twenty-five years later, the clinic’s mission is one of the few things that remains the same. Marillac now has 60 employees, a slew of volunteers and more than 140 specialists who will care for Marillac patients in their offices for little or no fee. The clinic moved to its current spot at 2333 N. Sixth St. in May 1998 and expanded to include an on-site dental clinic in 2003 and an on-site eye clinic in 2006. Also in 2006, the clinic opened a satellite office offering medical, mental and some dental health care at 707 37 3/10 Road, Unit A, in Palisade.

The satellite clinic had about 7,000 visits from unique patients last year, while the Grand Junction clinic saw another 25,000 patients, estimated Marillac Community and Donor Relations Director Kristy Schmidt. Grants, state funding, charitable contributions and in-kind offerings from local medical organizations have helped the clinic grow to offer primary and other medical care, a full range of dental and optical services, a medical assistance program for prescription medications, and mental health services that can be integrated into regular medical visits.

Schmidt said reaching 25 years “is a big deal” for a nonprofit safety net clinic for the uninsured and the clinic plans to celebrate accordingly. The clinic adopted a new logo this year and will keep it after 2013 (although a “1988–2013” in the logo will be removed.) The clinic also is working on a new website look and will host a year of celebrations under the theme “25 years of service, caring, living, loving and giving in our community.”

Events will start Jan. 24 with a breakfast and memorial candlelight service to recognize people associated with the clinic who have passed away. On May 4, Marillac will have an anniversary celebration at the Doubletree Hotel that will include a dinner, a program talking about the clinic’s 25 years of work and guest speaker Vallie Collins, who was a passenger on U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which safely landed in the Hudson River in 2009.

A fundraising campaign will follow this summer with an emphasis on donations that include the number 25. The clinic will have a booth at this summer’s farmers market and host a moonlit walk on the Riverfront Trail on Sept. 21. Finally, Marillac will cap the year with a holiday reception for donors, staff and others involved in the clinic, and all patients will receive a small gift in December.

Marillac accepts uninsured patients and a small amount of insured patients who qualified for Medicaid only recently. Patients must apply annually for eligibility and can earn an income of up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for care at Marillac. Dental and optical services are offered at a discount based on income and patients are charged a medical co-pay of between $0 for a homeless person without an income to $40 for a person at 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The average co-pay is $15 to $20, according to Schmidt.

“They do contribute to their care and we feel that’s important. It places more of a value on what they receive,” Schmidt said.

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