HPCHC Expressing Concerns over Local Drug Abuse


Eric Niemeyer, Chief Executive Officer at High Plains Community Health Center, said the facility is preparing to re-establish the local drug abuse task force which operated in Lamar several years ago. Niemeyer told the Prowers County Commissioners during a recent visit, he and Crystal Cook of HPCHC have decided to look at the metrics or measurements of drug abuse, related crime statistics from theft to child abuse, to determine the weight or impact of the drug culture in the community.

“We want to find a date that would be open to members,” he told the commissioners, adding that participants could regularly view the measurements to determine related trends such as arrests for drug abuse and use those figures as a means of addressing local problems. Niemeyer said there would be confidentiality regarding specific health issues, but the task force would use those numbers to determine trends, “We are placing that as a very high priority,” he stated.

Other topics included the Center’s recent performance assessment by the federal Health Resources and Services Commission. “This happens every three years and because the Center is in line for $1M in annual grants to support our scope of services, we are judged in 19 different areas,” he explained.  Niemeyer said the compliance audit showed the Center is in the 90th percentile of similar centers in the country.  “We received a very good report card which means that we are in excellent standing with the federal government to retain our federal grant and to keep those dollars and services which help the community,” he said.

Medical providers have turnover and the CEO stated that the Center will lose three positions and continues to search for their replacements. “There’s the departure of Dr. Lam this coming May and of our PA, Cameron Freeman, recently.  We are a good location to work for and we’re aggressively approaching this with professional health care search firms.  In the meantime, scheduling may get difficult in the interim period and we’ll be asking our patients to work with us and we’ll do our best to keep meeting their needs,” Niemeyer explained.

By Russ Baldwin

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