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Edward M. Kennedy Health Clinic opened

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 23rd, 2011

Clinic Manager Grace Sandoval addresses the crowd assembled Nov. 17 for the grand opening of the new Edward M. Kennedy Health Center, while providers Phillip Mendoza, MD; Lead Nurse, Sherri James and Michael Noonan, PA-C listen in. Not pictured is Melissa Franco, MD.

MONTE VISTA — Valley-Wide Health Systems (VWHS), Inc. held a grand opening Thursday at the Edward M. Kennedy Health Clinic.

The new clinic is the result of a successful partnership between the city of Monte Vista and Valley-Wide.

Present for the grand opening were Board Chair Aurora Martinez, Region 8 Director of U.S. Health and Human services Marguerite Salazar, State Senator Gail Schwartz, Bill Gray, regional assistant for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Monte Vista Mayor Art Medina and Valley-Wide president and CEO Gigi Darricades.

Solutions for local needs

While the nation has focused on resolutions for health care reform, the two entities focused on solutions for local health care needs.

Together the two entities embarked on a project to redevelop a blighted building and transform the delivery of integrated primary health care services for Rio Grande County residents while strengthening the social and economic health of the city of Monte Vista.

The project began as a means to update Valley-Wide’s Rio Grande Medical Center (RGMC), which has served the community since 1993 providing primary healthcare, physical therapy and rehabilitation (PT) services, and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program services. A partnership was formed and the project evolved into the conversion of an old hardware-building overrun with blight, into a state-of-the-art medical facility where patients can find a medical home for their comprehensive health care needs.

On Oct. 31, 2011 the RGMC relocated to Second Avenue, opening with a new name, Edward M. Kennedy Health Clinic (EMKHC), in tribute to the late Senator Ted Kennedy and his devotion to affordable healthcare.

The new EMKHC is the fruition of a positive and responsive partnership between Valley-Wide and the City who had a similar vision and worked collaboratively to find suitable space and raise the necessary funding to complete the project.

A win-win for the City, Valley-Wide, and residents the project addresses the primary healthcare needs of City and County residents and enhances the downtown area for greater economic vitality. Vacant for years, the building was deemed an eyesore.

The second phase of renovation will include a dental suite and is scheduled for completion next fall.

For the complete article see the 11-23-2011 issue.

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