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Adult Health Clinic Reopening in September

 

Front Entrance to Adult Health Center

 

Eric Niemeyer, Executive Director of the High Plains Community Health Center, told the Prowers County Commissioners, construction work on the Adult Clinic off Kendall Drive in Lamar has only a few stages to go through before it will re-open this September. Niemeyer briefed the Commissioners with the latest updates from the Clinic this past Thursday, August 8th.  Some recent events at the Center have revolved around the observance of National Health Center Week.

“It’s been closed for about 18 months now, since January 2018 when cracks in the foundation came to light.” He explained that the foundation under the clinic did not start to cave in, but the ground in that area actually began to push up.  “We have a company from Pueblo doing the work which has the elevations back to where they should be and some drainage work needs to be finalized before it’s complete. “  He added that new sidewalks will be poured in the next few weeks, one of the final touches before the clinic is re-opened to the public.

Niemeyer said some personnel changes are taking place at HPCHC with Dr. Machaud scheduled to leave the Center, but a new physician’s assistant joined the Center this past spring and a new mental health provider, a Wiley resident has joined to work in the behavioral health department. “It’s a win-win situation for us in this case, when we have someone local who joins our team and is less likely to leave after being with us for two or three years.”

He noted the number of patients has been about the same this year as last, “We had 9,000 patients from around the counties and they attributed for the 42,000 patient visits we’ve seen and that’s a huge percentage for this rural area, including some from Kansas.”

State Senator, Larry Crowder, in Lamar for a visit with Niemeyer at the Center, said Lamar has been at the forefront in the state for integrated health care for the past several years. “I’ve been hearing about this concept of combining mental and physical health care in the state house lately, but Lamar has been doing this for the past two or three years.”  Niemeyer said the Center is integrating various portions of treatment in one visit.  “We do this with our Dental Clinic, checking a patient’s blood pressure or inquiring about depression or substance abuse. It’s a way for us to use all our facilities for our patients.”

Niemeyer explained the Center receives about $2million dollars each year in federal funding as do all the similar Centers in the country. He said there is also funding at the state level which helps offset the uncompensated care offered by the Center.  “We’re also looking at a new coverage program which offers a direct primary care contract for small business owners.  It’s a way they can offer some health coverage for their workers at about $100 a month.  The employees can have some limited treatment at the Center for as many times as they need at a fixed cost.  It’s been used in Summit County and the program can help lower costs on a larger group plan health coverage policy.  It’s not exactly health insurance, but a means of providing some coverage where it didn’t exist before.”

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyFeaturedHealthPublic Safety

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