Meeting to focus on health center

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Health care representatives from Routt and Moffat counties will crunch numbers Wednesday to determine the need for a community heath center.

The meeting, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Hayden Town Hall, is the third meeting exploring the possibility of creating a community health center for the growing number of uninsured and underinsured residents in the Yampa Valley.

A steering committee was created in June to gather data indicating where the highest needs are in the region and what type of center would best meet those demands.

The committee will begin re----viewing that data at Wednesday's meeting, which is open to the public, said Suzi Mariano, public information coordinator for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

Community health centers are nonprofit clinics that serve uninsured patients on a sliding cost scale and also serve insured patients. Federal funds and other grants help offset costs for uninsured patients.

To qualify for federal funding, centers must meet staffing and other requirements.

Rural health care clinics are other types of public health care clinics that must be in communities with a shortage of health care providers.

The steering committee is working to meet a December deadline to apply for federal funding. Data about health care needs in the region will help support that application, Mariano said.

The data also will help establish which type of clinic will best fit the region's health care needs.

Representatives from Yampa Valley Medical Center, LIFT-UP of Routt County, Routt County United Way and various other health and human service organizations in the Yampa Valley have shown interest in establishing a community health center.

At past meetings, representatives said geographic barriers, increased drug use and growing demands for prenatal care, dental care and mental health services are among reasons the region needs a community health center.

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