Steamboat Springs Usage of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association's new Community Health Center in Steamboat Springs quickly is approaching the projection that was made for it last year.
At a glance
Services the Community Health Center offers:
• Primary care
• Mental health care
• Prescription assistance
• Health screenings and education
• After-hours care
Study estimates VNA's economic impact
A recent report from the Colorado Community Health Network found that the state's 18 Community Health Centers serve more than 600,000 patients and together injected $735 million into the state's economy in 2011. The study found Northwest Colorado VNA "injected $8.1 million of operating expenses into the local economy." According to the report, the VNA here supported 24 full-time local jobs and created 32 jobs as a result of those operating expenditures that year.
Source: Colorado Community Health Network
VNA CEO Lisa Brown said Friday that the clinic saw 1,452 people in its first nine months of operation.
Before the clinic opened, the VNA projected it could serve at least 2,000 people in its first two years.
“We're on track,” Brown said, adding that 79 percent of the patients served do not have health insurance.
The Community Health Center opened in January and offers affordable primary health care to the uninsured and underinsured population that is estimated to include nearly 25 percent of county residents.
The new clinic also has allowed about 450 Routt County residents, who previously had been traveling to Moffat County for the same services, to get them closer to home.
“More than anything, it's interesting how many people have come up to me to say, 'I came to your clinic to deal with a situation I had. I don't know how I would have paid for it otherwise.'”
The two health centers in Craig and Steamboat don't just serve those cities.
Brown said patients are coming from eight ZIP codes, and it's not uncommon for them to travel here from places as far away as Wolcott and Jackson County to receive services.
The cost of all services at the Community Health Center is based on a sliding scale determined by the patient’s income.
When it opened, it was projected it would serve patients who primarily are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, a level that is comparable to a family of four earning less than $45,000 each year.
The care is provided by medical doctors and physician's assistants.
Brown said the biggest priority for the clinic is to focus on behavioral health.
“One of the highest community priorities is continuing to increase the entire community's ability to appropriately identify people who need behavioral and mental health support and also getting access to that,” Brown said.
To learn more about the Community Health Center, visit www.nwcovna.org/community-health-programs.php.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10
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