Mountain Family to open new health center in Rifle |

Mountain Family to open new health center in Rifle

RIFLE, Colorado ” More than a half million dollars in federal stimulus money will help the Mountain Family Health Centers (MFHC) expand its low-income and indigent health care services to a new facility in Rifle.

Mountain Family hopes to break ground by October on a new $2.2 million, 8,000-square-foot facility on land owned by Garfield County next to the county’s Department of Human Services building in north Rifle, with a grand opening in November 2010, MFHC Executive Director Dave Adamson said.

About $554,000 of that cost is expected to come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, through funding directed at health care needs for the uninsured.

“We have a pretty strong proposal, so we think we are going to get it,” Adamson said. “Community health centers are a big part of that money.”

County commissioners on Monday also agreed to move forward with a land lease to accommodate the project.

The nonprofit Mountain Family currently operates a 9,000-square-foot health care facility in the former Glenwood Medical Associates building across from Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Since it opened in 1999, it has been the fastest growing rural health center in Colorado, Adamson said. The facility provided 17,920 medical visits to 6,293 patients in 2008.

“Expansion to Rifle is necessary because the facility in Glenwood Springs is reaching full capacity,” he said in an information packet provided to the county commissioners.

The Glenwood facility averaged 194 new patients per month last year. Already this year, that average has risen to 266 new patients per month. A growing number of patients are also coming from the Rifle area, Adamson said.

“Glenwood’s patients are best described as the working poor,” he said. “They are employed in retail, hospitality, recreation, construction or mining services.”

Many do not have health insurance through their employers, he said. About 60 percent of Mountain Family patients are uninsured, while 19 percent are on Medicaid.

“We also put a huge emphasis on prevention,” Adamson said. “As a health center, that is very important for us.”

The new Rifle facility is being planned to include nine exam rooms, one procedure room, a laboratory, waiting room and administrative offices. It will be one of just four community health centers on the Western Slope, Adamson said.

In addition to the federal funding for the new facility, Mountain Family was awarded a $650,000 Colorado Department of Local Affairs Energy Impact grant, $250,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation, $150,000 from Caring for Colorado, $50,000 each from the El Pomar and Boettcher foundations, and $25,000 from Encana.

An additional $553,286 will need to be obtained through loans or private funding, Adamson said.

“We have been working with the county on this for about a year,” he said. “Health centers are very difficult to get, and we’re lucky to soon have two in this county.”

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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