Mid-Valley Health Clinic Works to Improve Healthcare Access in Midvale
Nov 09, 2015 10:09AM ● Published by Amanda Butler
By Amanda Butler
Midvale residents can access a wide variety of healthcare services at the Mid-Valley Health Clinic, located at 8446 South Harrison Street in the Copperview Recreation Center. Utah Partners For Health (UPFH), a non-profit organization that provides primary healthcare services using a discounted sliding fee schedule based on proof of income, operates the clinic. The clinic also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, PCN, CHIP and most other insurances, and is accepting new patients.
The Mid-Valley Health Clinic is a community health center that is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Their phone number is 801-417-0131. The clinic has a bilingual staff.
“A community health center is not just a clinic. We are responsible for actually looking for gaps in the healthcare system, and meeting those gaps,” Kurt Micka, the executive director of UPFH, said.
One way the clinic helps to meet those gaps is with its sliding fee schedule, which Micka said, “allows people to get in for what’s considered a nominal fee, which in our case we’ve set that at $27. Everything that’s related to their visit, including labs and blood draws, all these things are included in their sliding fee discount, so there’s no added on costs to it.”
Micka compared that cost to what an uninsured patient might pay elsewhere. “Somebody who’s uninsured would have to pay around $150 for a sore throat visit because they’re going to go in and pay for their visit, which will be around $100. Then they’re going to have to pay for their lab, to test whether it’s strep throat or not, and that could be $38 or more. Then if there’s a culture on that, it’s going to be another $50 or $60. So it’s going to average around $150 for that visit.”
Another way the clinic increases access to healthcare is with a standard of care that is “so high it’s unbelievable. When a patient comes in, we are responsible to track every part of their healthcare,” Micka said. If the clinic refers a patient elsewhere for further testing, such as a mammogram, they are usually given a voucher to get the test done at a reduced cost. “But we don’t just give it to you. We have to track that you actually went, we call and make the appointment for you, then we also call the person who gave the mammogram and ask for the report back. We have all these rules involved to make sure that you get the care that you need,” Micka said. “Our responsibility to the patient is extremely high—that’s what community health centers are all about.”
The clinic also provides assistance in finding and applying for health insurance. “We have three Certified Application Counselors (CACs) who assist people in getting set up so they can have their own insurance, whether it’s Medicaid, Medicare, or the marketplace. We have lots of different programs for that,” Micka said.
The clinic opened in November 2013, seeing patients one day per week. “In April of 2014, we went to five days a week,” Micka said. “The clinic has seen around 6000 patients since the hours expanded.”
The clinic’s current schedule, with later hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was established based on patient feedback. “We are run by a board of directors that’s consumer driven, so the majority of our board members are actually patients of our clinic,” Micka said. The board of directors offers suggestions on how the clinic can provide better healthcare access to the Midvale community.
In addition to the location at Copperview Recreation Center, UPFH operates mobile medical and eye clinics, which travel to 26 different locations. The mobile clinics work with community-based organizations, including Head Start and Deseret Industries, in order to provide healthcare access to underserved areas.
“We have a clinic that reduces a lot of disparities related to lack of income and insurance, but it doesn’t reduce the barriers of not understanding our healthcare system or not understanding the culture of a health clinic,” Micka said. “A mobile clinic is about reducing those kinds of barriers—culture, language, transportation.” Micka estimates that the mobile medical and eye clinics will see a total of 4200 to 4300 patients this year.
Micka has seen how improved healthcare access can make a positive impact on people’s lives. “In the eye clinic, it’s just amazing, I mean, we have kids that go to school and can’t see. We had one student, a sixth grader, who failed his math test every single time he took it. He went in, got his eye exam, was able to get a pair of glasses right then, went out and back into his classroom, took the math test and got 100 percent. It was amazing. It only costs us probably in the neighborhood of $28 to do that whole process. And that story has been repeated over, over and over again. That’s why we do what we do.”