2009 Fall Marillac Clinic Director's Corner
In 1986, our community recognized that the uninsured residents of our county had great difficulty accessing essential primary health care. Many people worked for employers who could not afford to provide health insurance as a benefit. Before Marillac’s existence, the only alternative for the uninsured was to seek care through local emergency rooms – an inefficient and expensive way to meet health care needs.
In 1988, through the generous support of our community, the dream of a community clinic became a reality - Marillac Clinic was born. Since then, our local solution has grown considerably, both in size and in reputation. Last year, nearly 8000 people from our community received high quality, cost-effective care. Marillac has achieved national recognition as a model for the innovative way we deliver services to the uninsured.
The Clinic has integrated five lines of health care services: medical, mental health, dental, vision care (including glasses) and access to affordable medication – all under one roof. We meet a variety of patient needs in a single visit. Due to the generosity of our medical community, specialty care is also available. We help people meet their basic personal needs by linking our services with a variety of community agencies.
Marillac receives a number of requests throughout the country asking us: How did you do this? My consistent reply is that Marillac is much more than a health clinic. Marillac is a manifestation of shared community values. In Mesa County, we acknowledge that any of us might arrive at a place when we need to ask for help. We acknowledge that we’re in this life together. We believe that people ought not to lose their dignity or access to health care during tough economic times. Someone losing their health because they cannot afford care is simply not acceptable because we all suffer the consequences.
For the first time in my role as Executive Director, our economy has entered a dramatic and severe recession. As you read in the lead article of this newsletter, the state of Colorado has reduced its funding to the clinic since July by over $500,000. Even more concerning is that further cuts may yet occur by the end of this year.
Be assured that Marillac will do everything possible to maintain existing services to our patients. Every day I am inspired by the energy and passion demonstrated by our staff. Through continued organization efficiency, clinical ingenuity, eager volunteers, and your support - our commitment to the uninsured remains steadfast. Our community’s clinic will continue to deliver integrated care that respects the dignity of all who enter our door. Marillac is asking for your help – let’s roll up our sleeves and offer a hand – a hand that provides hope and encouragement to those in need.