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Colorado Health Centers Get $5 Million To Serve Needy Patients

Erin O'Toole
A sign directs patients in both English and Spanish at Sunrise Community Health Center

Nearly all of Colorado’s community health centers are receiving federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The $4.7 million will help expand primary care services for low-income patients at 16 health centers across the state.

Colorado has a network of 18 federally qualified health centers that aim to serve patients who otherwise could not afford health care services. In Colorado, centers get between 10 and 20 percent of their funding from federal grants, with the rest coming from various state and local sources.

Sunrise Community Health in Evans will receive just over $304,000. Mitzi Moran, CEO at Sunrise, says the money will enhance services at their recently expanded clinic in Loveland.

"This funding will add a physician, a dentist, and several support staff members, both on the clinical side and the business side, to enable that team to see what we hope is 1,200 unduplicated patients by the end of 2016," Moran says.

Community health centers serve about a third of Colorado’s enrollees in Medicaid – the health insurance program for low-income adults. The funding, available through the federal Affordable Care Act, will help health centers reach about 26,000 new patients statewide.

Moran says local support and partnerships – which played a large role in the center’s recent expansion – allowed Sunrise to compete for and receive the funds.

"Had we not expanded, I wouldn’t be in a position to say, 'yes – I can add on more staff to support this,'" Moran says. "We wouldn’t have been poised and ready for this opportunity."

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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