Community Care Clinic seeks government grants, nonprofit status
FRISCO – Jill Roy wants to open the governor’s eyes to “behind-the-scenes” Summit County, the growing uninsured population that relies on free Monday and Thursday night clinics for health care. As coordinator of the community care clinic, Roy has watched patient demand surpass the clinic’s resources. She’s turning to the state for assistance, seeking grants and nonprofit status. The clinic currently operates as a quasi-government agency and relies on volunteer doctors, nurses, and front desk staff on the two free nights.
“We want the governor’s office to see the behind-the-scenes as opposed to the glitz,” Roy said. “This comes across as a wealthy county, but lots of people don’t make enough to survive. This is the population you don’t see when you’re driving through the county.”
Although the clinic technically does not qualify for federal assistance, Roy hopes to get an exemption from the governor’s office, which would allow her to continue applying for grants.
When applying for federal assistance, a community must first prove it has a medically underserved population (MUP). The state looks at four criteria in granting MUP status: the percent of the population living under the poverty level ($32,900 a year for a family of four), the percent older than 65, the percent of infant mortality, and the number of health care providers per thousand people. Summit County’s data shows it is above the minimum rating for MUP status.
Combining efforts with Eagle County’s clinics, Roy wants to show the governor’s office the needs of the entire Summit/Eagle corridor, from Clear Creek to Glenwood Springs. Eagle County is in a predicament similar to Summit’s, with a large uninsured population and under-funded clinic. Neighboring Park and Clear Creek counties already have MUP status.
In addition to federal grants, Roy hopes the clinic will receive nonprofit status, which would allow for paid, rather than volunteer, staff.
“We could provide better continuity of care by having the same providers all the time,” Roy said. “Now, we have different volunteer doctors each week.”
If the clinic receives both state grants and nonprofit status, it could stay open one day each week, in addition to the two nights.
“If (we) had more hours, I know they’d be filled,” Roy said. “We could treat even more of the uninsured population.”
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