When the Creek Valley Health Clinic celebrates its grand opening on Dec. 18, it will have been over a year in the making.
In addition to renovating its facilities, the nonprofit medical clinic also had to secure its status as an official “community health center.” It’s part of a federal program from the Health Resources and Services Administration designed to bring health care to underserved areas.
Creek Valley’s CEO Hunter Adams told KUER that the community support has been overwhelming.
“I think a lot of people are really excited to have health care options here locally instead of having to drive an hour to the closest hospital,” he said, adding that apart from this clinic, the closest option for medical care is an hour away in St. George.
Adams also highlighted that many community members are Arizona residents and have had to make the two-hour drive to Page, Arizona, or pay out of pocket since their health insurance plans are often not accepted by Utah providers.
Creek Valley Health Clinic will provide a fleet of services such as primary, dental and mental health care — and will work to accept as many insurance plans as possible.
Adams said that all of the clinic's 22 employees and board of directors either live in or have close ties to the community.
Rita Osborn, the director of the Utah Center for Rural Health at Southern Utah University, said that the clinic is “sorely needed” and praised its unique funding model and community roots.
“Health care providers who come from the community will also ensure that community needs are addressed,” she said. “The Federally Qualified Health Center model … is poised to change the health status of those living in this very underserved region of our state. Those without insurance will be able to receive quality care here.”
David Fuchs is a Report for America corps member who reports from KUER's Southwest Bureau in St. George.