Summit Community Care Clinic receives $700K federal grant
The Summit Community Care Clinic in Frisco was one of three Colorado health centers that recently received $1.95 million in Affordable Care Act funding for providing health care services to the communities that need them most.
The funding was announced Tuesday, May 7, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the clinic received a $704,167 grant.
“It’s a huge deal,” said Sarah Vaine, the clinic’s CEO, adding that the grant’s corresponding federal designation through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will have an even greater impact than the money.
The grant and the designation have been in the works for four years, she said, since the clinic applied in 2011 to become a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike.
The designation requires health centers to meet extensive requirements, and in return the clinics benefit from reduced medication costs and higher reimbursements for services provided under Medicare and Medicaid as well as eligibility to apply for more grant funding.
The clinic serves mostly low-income residents and 68 percent of its patients don’t have health insurance, Vaine said. They are typically charged on a sliding scale, and what fees they do pay don’t come close to paying the clinic’s costs.
In recent years, Vaine said, four health centers in Summit’s neighboring communities that saw uninsured and low-income people have closed, meaning more of those people have come to Summit for health care services.
The clinic’s last fiscal year was its worst ever, she said, due to an influx of patients and increased costs meeting new requirements.
The increased funding and the designation translates to better financial sustainability for the clinic, she said. “This really is going to help us turn things around.”
The clinic’s patients will benefit, Vaine said, as will the entire Summit community because more federal money means local foundations and individuals won’t be as pressed by the clinic for donations.
The other two Colorado health centers that received funding are Marillac Clinic in Grand Junction and Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center in Durango.
Nationally, the federal department awarded about $101 million to 164 new health center sites in 33 states and two U.S. territories to increase access for nearly 650,000 patients.
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