As a healthcare provider for vulnerable populations in medically underserved areas, Summit Community Care Clinic is on track to see over 9,000 patients in 2023, surpassing the 8,815 patients seen in 2022. The number of patients accessing the Care Clinic’s medical, behavioral health, and dental services is expected to increase even further in 2024 due to expanded capacity in Lake and Park Counties.
The Care Clinic decreases health costs to the community by reducing the number of patients using Emergency Rooms, with ER utilization for our service area lower than the statewide target for Community Health Centers (CHC). According to Colorado Community Health Network’s (CCHN) 2021 Value and Impact Report, the Care Clinic provides $5.1M in savings to Medicaid and $12.5M in savings to the overall health system.
The CCHN report also shows that the Care Clinic produces a $26.4M total economic stimulus by employing approximately 120 people (nearly 50% of whom are bilingual), stretching the health care budgets of those living on low incomes and supporting the service sector by serving many of its employees.
Of the 20 CHCs in Colorado, the Care Clinic has one of the most difficult payer mixes. About 45% of our patients are uninsured, and 31% rely on public insurance. Many of the Care Clinic’s patients earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and/or for the Care Clinic’s Sliding Fee Scale, but still cannot afford medical care.
With the end of the Public Health Emergency in May 2023, the ensuing Medicaid winddown means many are expected to lose their Medicaid coverage. While the Care Clinic has initially seen a reduction in the number of patients covered by Medicaid (29.3% for 2023 YTD compared to 30.7% in 2022), the impact of the winddown is being mitigated by the work of a dedicated Medicaid enrollment staff member whose position is funded by a grant from Rocky Mountain Health Plans.
Many of the Care Clinic’s patients earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and the sliding fee scale, but not enough to afford health care. Federal funding helps to support patients who are living at or below 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or $29,160 for an individual (in 2023). The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Summit County is $43,924 annually for an individual, based on the last available dataset (2022).
With community support, the Care Clinic goes above and beyond help meet the self-sufficiency challenge of our community by offering a Sliding Fee Scale up to 300% FPL or $43,740 in 2023, but many patients still struggle to pay for their health care if they fall on the low end of the Self-Sufficiency spectrum. Updated self-sufficiency standard data would show an even wider divide between the SFS and the self-sufficiency standard.
The financial difficulties many Care Clinic patients experience contribute to approximately $300,000 in patient fees written off annually. Approximately 55% of this bad debt is from self-pay patients who do not qualify for Sliding Fee Scale discounts. Unpaid debt is expected to increase as more patients lose Medicaid coverage.
The Care Clinic is taking several approaches to increase payment for patient fees, including performing a review of Sliding Fee Scale/discount programs, employment of a dedicated Medicaid enrollment specialist to help patients obtain and retain Medicaid coverage, and hiring a new position to work with patients who have outstanding fees.
The Care Clinic’s challenging payer mix creates a heavy reliance on grants and donations (about 60% of revenue). The demand for primary medical care, behavioral health, and dental services will continue to increase with the growth of Summit, Lake, and Park Counties and the many factors that contribute to economic uncertainty. By providing crucial integrated services in multiple locations, the Care Clinic supports a healthier, happier, and more vibrant local community.
The Care Clinic expects the number of patients and visits to increase significantly due to the expansion of services and locations. The Care Clinic Board, leadership, and staff are prepared to meet that demand, address the challenges, further are mission of providing exceptional, integrated, patient-centered care that is available to all.
Thank you for your support.
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Address: 360 Peak One Drive #100, PO Box 4337, Frisco, CO 80443
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