Community Care Clinic awarded $756K in CARES Act funding as future remains uncertain
FRISCO — The Summit Community Care Clinic received $756,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ CARES Act funding, but that money will only make a dent in what the clinic needs to move through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legislators passed the federal CARES Act on March 27, awarding Colorado’s rural health clinics, community access hospitals and community health centers $188 million in addition to $99 million to hospitals that have provided inpatient care to 100 or more COVID-19 patients.
The care clinic provides medical, behavioral health and dental care at its location in Frisco. It also runs four school-based health centers in Summit County plus an additional center each in nearby Park and Lake counties. Since state and county public health orders closed schools and dental practices and pushed clinics to telehealth services, the Summit Community Care Clinic has lost a large chunk of its funding.
A little less than half — 47% — of the clinic’s funding comes from patient revenue. With limited operations due to COVID-19, it has experienced a 75% reduction in its ability to generate that revenue, Community Care Clinic CEO Helen Royal said.
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The other half of the clinic’s funding comes from grants and donations, most of which are tied to specific services that the clinic can’t perform right now. For example, all of the state grants, which are tied to cancer prevention or behavioral health services, are “on the chopping block,” she said.
The CARES Act funding will help the clinic replace revenue losses, Royal said. While the clinic is grateful for the $756,000, it is still looking for new ways to shore up funding.
“We are a fairly large organization and (the CARES Act funding) is approximately three payrolls for us,” she said, putting the amount of money into context. “We are extremely grateful and appreciate our legislators, but when we look at the big picture, it’s three payrolls.”
Dave Byrd, the clinic’s chief financial officer, said the money will be distributed through March and will help cover general and operational expenses as well as increased expenses to test for coronavirus.
Summit Community Care Clinic federal coronavirus relief:
- $756,000 awarded from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the CARES Act for coronavirus relief.
- $65,251 awarded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for COVID-19 response.
- $1.6 million rural provider allocation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for COVID-19 response.
“We’ve had a lot of expenditures since March related to COVID testing at the clinic,” Byrd said. “We track those and put those in a budget, and we have those as a reimbursement from the federal government.”
Looking forward, Royal said significant portions of the funding are expected to be cut. For example, the clinic expects a 20% reduction in school-based funding, and senior adult dental Medicaid funding is also at risk of being cut.
“On the state level, there is a lot of risk for us both in the moment and looking forward,” she said.
Private foundations and donors have been “wonderful” through the process, Royal said, as they have provided the clinic with a lot of flexibility for the funds. However, a lot is still up in the air in terms of how the clinic will function in the long term.
Royal said she’s focused on meeting the needs of the community while following all of the safety guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“That 47% patient revenue piece of the pie could shrink considerably, which means we have to continue to find other ways to provide necessary services for the community,” she said.
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