County clinic awarded grant of $1.1 million

Foundation's gift will broaden health agency's base of patients

A freshly remodeled Mesa County Health Department clinic at 510 29 1/2 Road is anticipated to serve 15,000 people per year by 2016, thanks to a recently awarded grant.

Local Health Department clinics currently serve about 9,000 patients each year, according to Jeff Kuhr, executive director of the Mesa County Health Department. A newly awarded $1.1 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation will help the department expand that patient base by helping the clinic branch out from family planning and immunization services to offer general care as well for underinsured and uninsured residents with income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Kuhr said low-cost medical providers like Marillac Clinic serve the uninsured and underinsured population but there is still a need for more resources for those people outside of emergency rooms.

“We’re in a location where many people are used to going for various programs and services, so our location will be a factor,” Kuhr said. “Marillac is located in a different part of the community.”

Planning for the clinic remodeling process may begin as soon as July 1, Kuhr said, with work possibly beginning a month or two later. The remodeling project will likely take six to nine months to complete, Kuhr estimated. The remodeling project will not likely add rooms but will improve the “flow” of the clinic space, according to Kuhr.

The clinic will remain open during renovations, with work being done in phases.

About $700,000 of grant funding will be used for renovations. The rest of the money will be used to help pay the salaries of a new physician and a new nurse practitioner during their first three years on the job. Kuhr said he hopes to hire for those two positions within six months to help with the increased workload he predicts the clinic will experience. He predicted the clinic will be able to afford the two new positions after the three-year grant funding is gone based on ongoing efficiency efforts.

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