New clinic to make Midvale a healthier place
Partnership • Nonprofit group will operate the facility in a county rec center.
Published: March 28, 2014 11:40AM
Updated: March 28, 2014 11:02AM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Kurt Micka, facing camera, executive director of Utah Partners for Health, jokes around with physician's assistant Tony Gregory, holding his son, Parker, in an open house to mark the formal opening of the Mid-Valley Health Clinic in Midvale. The clinic is in Copperview Recreation Center.

Midvale • There were times when Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini doubted she’d ever succeed in getting a health-care clinic to serve needy people in and around her mid-valley community.

But she persevered, and on Wednesday joined with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and officials of the nonprofit Utah Partners for Health in dedicating the new Mid-Valley Health Clinic.

“It’s a miracle,” the five-term mayor said of the clinic, which will occupy a wing of the county’s Copperview Recreation Center, 8446 Harrison St. “For all families seeking a medical home, this is home.”

Utah Partners for Health will operate the facility for “insured, uninsured and underinsured patients.” It already runs other clinics in the county, including a mobile unit that goes into neighborhoods inhabited by individuals who, for various reasons, rarely interact with medical institutions.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the Affordable Care Act,” said Kurt Micka, the nonprofit’s executive director. His organization secured a $625,000 operational grant through the act, often called Obamacare, along with a $150,000 one-time grant to convert rec center space into the health clinic.

Utah Partners for Health could not have pursued that grant if Salt Lake County had not sharply discounted its charge for the space, he added, including a rent-free first year.

Between the federal grant and other funds raised by Utah Partners for Health, the clinic will have a $1.1 million annual budget and plans to serve 5,000 different users — 12,000 visits overall — when it’s fully up and running.

“We want patients,” Micka said. Added his board’s chairwoman, Tami Eckstein: “Our passion is to fill gaps in the health-care system.”

Amy Banks, a medical doctor, will direct the clinic with two bilingual staff members: nurse practitioner Maria Valdizan-Garcia and physician assistant Tony Gregory.

From Monday through Friday, they will do adult and child well checks, immunizations and vision screenings, initiate lab work and provide diabetic treatment and care. Assistance also will be provided to help people sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

McAdams said the clinic exemplifies the county’s desire to form partnerships that deliver services where and when people need them.

Teaming the clinic with the county’s first rec center is a “great alignment of missions,” he said, expressing hope that having those facilities side-by-side will drive business for both and promote fitness.

“We want people to get healthy and stay healthy,” McAdams said.

Community activist Claudia Gonzalez said she is eager to spread the word among her Hispanic neighbors that “we have a clinic at last. There’s a lot of need. I’m so grateful.”

So is Seghini, calling the clinic “a lovely place to come if you’re having health difficulties, certainly cheaper than waiting until things are desperate and you need emergency care.

“This will be a place where you will know [the medical people] you are meeting with and they will know you,” she added, predicting individual health gains will have broader social consequences as well. “When people are healthy, our communities are healthy.”

mikeg@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribmikeg

Working hours

The Mid-Valley Health Clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday but Thursday, when doors will be open from noon to 8 p.m.