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Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) announced this morning that it will launch a new pilot project called the Chaffee Community Clinic (CCC) beginning in Salida on May 23 and in Buena Vista on May 31. The Chaffee Community Clinic will operate as a mobile medical and harm reduction clinic, using the CCPH mobile trailer purchased in the past two years.

The inspiration for this initiative came from the most recent Community Health Assessment, where access to basic medical and dental care and services for mental health and substance use disorders ranked high among concerned Chaffee County citizens. The aim is to serve the unhoused, undocumented, low income, those who struggle with substance use disorders, and others who traditionally have difficulties accessing healthcare through a holistic approach to physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

“Ensuring access to health and wellness services and supports, especially for those who experience the most barriers, is a top priority of CCPH and our local healthcare system,” said CCPH Director Andrea Carlstrom. “Through coordination and collaboration, CCC aims to meet people where they are at, assessing their needs in an environment that is comfortable to them, and providing quality services onsite or making the appropriate ‘warm handoffs; to the programs and providers that can best serve them.”

Chaffee Dept. of Public Health has ordered a mobile trailer for rapid testing purposes. It will be equipped with five testing machines that can test for COVID-19, flu and strep. Courtesy photo.

Medical services provided by the Chaffee Community Clinic will include oral health screening and limited treatment, basic wound care, tobacco cessation, diabetes, and cardiovascular screening, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, sexually transmitted infection testing, and treatment and immunizations.

Clinic staff will also connect individuals with behavioral health, housing, and aging navigation, assist with enrollment into Medicaid, and help clients connect with a medical home or specialty medical provider. Harm reduction services will include safe disposal of needles and syringes, free sterile syringes (Salida only), Narcan®, fentanyl testing strips, AcuDetox, education on overdose prevention, recovery, and peer support, and connection to MAT (medication assisted treatment).

“For almost six months, the CCC planning committee has been completing a wide variety of training, working on protocols and procedures, and preparing to provide our community with this service in the most thoughtful, sensitive, and non-stigmatizing way,” added Carlstrom. “This project is fully funded through the support of state and private grants. We know we will have many lessons learned and hope that our county will walk alongside us as we strive to improve the health and wellness landscape for everyone in Chaffee County.”

In Salida, the Chaffee Community Clinic will be open from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays beginning on May 23 in the parking lot of the Salida United Methodist Church. Services will be provided in both a mobile health trailer as well as in rooms donated by the church.

In Buena Vista, the clinic will be open beginning on May 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Tuesdays in the parking lot of the Buena Vista Congregational United Church. Services will be provided in both a mobile health trailer as well as in rooms donated by the church.

Featured photo: The Chaffee County Public Health trailer is being re-equipped to deliver a new range of mobile heath services. Merrell Bergin photo