In a rural community in Wyoming, we worked with a group of individuals who made it their mission to increase access to care for the medically underserved, and I have been astounded by the amount of time and energy this group has committed to the project. This grassroots coalition took the steps necessary to create a federal qualified health center (FQHC), which is fairly complicated. JSI helped them out along the way, applying our expertise to complete certain required steps.
The heavy lifting over the past three years has been done in particular by two people, Bill and Sharon Baker, a retired couple who moved to their vacation stomping grounds in Wyoming upon retirement. Bill is a former veterinarian, and Sharon worked as a management consultant.
Wyoming is one of the states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, so there is still a tremendous amount of need for healthcare among the uninsured. Bill and Sharon Baker along with other committed community members (the Powell Health Care Coalition) decided to create a new, independent FQHC that would provide comprehensive primary care for the medically underserved. They put together a coalition of health care entities, and were able to recruit a physician, a dentist and a CEO. They also found and leased a building in Powell, Wyoming for the FQHC.
The Powell Health Care Coalition obtained a grant from the state that allowed the coalition to bring in JSI to do a needs assessment to determine service needs, obtain a federal designation as an underserved area, and then to write an application for the FQHC.
It’s a three-year process, and the amount of work the grassroots coalition put in was phenomenal. I have been amazed by their work and honored to be a part of this effort. Now approved, the newly-funded Health Care Center is planing on opening to the public in September 2015!
To learn the latest about the efforts by the Coalition, visit their Facebook page.
The Powell Tribune also wrote about the Center, “Powell Community Health Center approved”