Mountain Family Health Centers’ long-awaited and low-cost medical, dental and behavioral-health clinic in Basalt is open for business.
A grand-opening ceremony for the midvalley facility, officially named the Basalt Integrated Health Center, was held Monday. The clinic is located off Emma Road near Stubbie’s Bar and Ho Palace, in a Pitkin County government-owned space that required $3.4 million in renovations. A Mountain Family capital campaign to raise $2 million to offset the renovation costs has entered its final phase.
Officials who attended the ceremony touted the clinic as an affordable health-care option for the working people of the middle and upper portions of the Roaring Fork Valley. Mountain Family Health Centers, a nonprofit based in Glenwood Springs, also has a downvalley clinic on Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs as well as other facilities and school-based clinics in Avon, Edwards and Rifle.
Jon Fox-Rubin, president of Mountain Family’s board, said he was “thrilled” by the addition of the clinic to the community.
“Our family, friends and neighbors, regardless of their income or insurance status, will now have access to fully integrated medical, behavioral and dental services in one health care home,” he said. “Thank you to all our partners, my fellow board members and Mountain Family staff for making this vision a reality.”
Mike Kaplan, president and CEO of Aspen Skiing Co., spoke of how the SkiCo and its employees contributed to the campaign that raised funds for the renovations.
“Aspen Skiing Company is a values-driven company, owned and operated by people who share a common appreciation and respect for the pristine environment in which we live and [who] fully embrace the Aspen Idea centered around the renewal of mind, body and spirit,” he said.
The new clinic takes up 8,100 square feet in the county-owned Riverpark Center building. Renovations to the space began in July and the work was underway almost up until the grand opening, according to Mountain Family development director Garry Schalla. The county previously used the space for administrative offices over the past two years as it built its new government complex on Main Street in Aspen.
The clinic has nine examination rooms and is considerably larger than Mountain Family’s former facility on Cody Lane, in space that was provided by Aspen Valley Hospital, which Schalla estimated as no larger than 1,500 square feet. Mountain Family’s partners in the new clinic include the hospital and the governments of Pitkin and Eagle counties.
In fact, on Wednesday, Pitkin County commissioners on first reading gave their blessing to an agreement that brings Eagle County into the partnership, reducing the previously estimated contributions for rent and operating deficits from Pitkin County and the hospital.
“The agreement was created to ensure Mountain Family Health would be able to provide high-quality, integrated primary medical, behavioral and dental health services to all underserved residents of Pitkin County and Western Eagle County, regardless of ability to pay,” a county memorandum states.
Hospital CEO Dave Ressler said Wednesday that changes are in store for the Cody Lane space formerly occupied by Mountain Family on weekdays. For the time being, the space will continue serve as Aspen Valley’s after-hours clinic. The hospital leases the building, and Mountain Family occupied it during the day on weekdays while the hospital has been using it on weekday evenings and weekends during the day.
Toward the end of this year, the hospital plans to fold its After Hours Medical Clinic, as it’s called, into a medical complex farther midvalley.
“We are going to be ultimately vacating the [Cody Lane] space that we’re in as well. We lease the building, and we’ll just terminate the lease, and we’re going to relocate Basalt After Hours Care to what we’re calling a campus now,” Ressler said.
That campus is at 1450 E. Valley Road near Willits, the site of Midvalley Medical Center and also Midvalley Health Institute, two facilities also operated by Aspen Valley Hospital.
Mountain Family Health Centers primarily serves individuals without health insurance and those who are underinsured, including Medicare and Medicaid patients. Schalla said that at Basalt Integrated Health Clinic, low- and middle-income patients without insurance will continue to pay on a sliding scale based on their wages, just as they did at the Cody Lane clinic.
The new clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.