Valley-Wide Health Systems is set to open its integrated primary care clinic on U.S. 24 Monday, Aug. 3.
Valley-Wide has locations throughout the San Luis Valley and the southern Arkansas River Valley, but Buena Vista has been a location the company has been eyeing for decades, said Tanah Wagenseller, the director of operations for Valley-Wide, who will oversee the Buena Vista location.
Wagenseller also oversees the Valley-Wide clinic in Cañon City, which sees numerous patients who travel from Salida, Nathrop and Buena Vista for care.
“Our new Buena Vista clinic is super exciting in that I’ve actually had a weird, long history with trying to get this clinic in the works,” Wagenseller said. “Before I worked with Valley-Wide I actually worked for the Association of Federally-Qualified Health Vendors. When I started there in 2006, that organization was working with Valley-Wide on potentially trying to get a clinic open in Buena Vista. So it’s taken quite some time to get us here, and we’re super excited to be joining the Buena Vista community.”
Valley-Wide will offer medical, dental and behavioral health and pharmacy in the former Trailhead building on U.S. 24 North at the intersection with Crossman Avenue.
Additionally, Wagenseller said Valley-Wide offers support services including case management, care coordination, referral assistance, as well as “outreach and eligibility, and what that means is helping our patients find different financial resources, insurance resources to help them cover the cost of either medical insurance or medical services.”
Federally-qualified health centers are designated by the Department of Health and Human Services to receive funding under the Health Center Consolidation Act, which allows community health centers to provide service on a sliding scale.
In researching a new location for a clinic, Valley-Wide of Alamosa, conducts a needs assessment on the availability of healthcare in that area.
“Essentially what this needs assessment kept telling us was that there’s definitely a population (in Buena Vista) who does not access health services, most likely because there’s a financial issue, there’s insurance issues, and sometimes there’s cultural issues or provider shortages,” Wagenseller said. “What’s really unique about community health centers or federally-qualified health centers like Valley-Wide is that we provide health services to people regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of their insurance status, regardless of documentation status. So I think just being a place where anyone could access medical, dental, behavioral health services is so important.”
“We have people (who are patients at the Valley-Wide clinic in Cañon City) who drive from Buena Vista, Salida, Nathrop, Fairplay and other smaller communities over there, so we’re really excited to be able to offer services to those folks without them having to drive an hour and a half,” Wagenseller said.