The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

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County board hears community clinic plans

 

March 29, 2019



By RICHARD JENKINS

rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com

Hurley — There will soon be an additional medical resource for Gogebic Range residents, with the Iron County Board of Supervisors getting information Tuesday on NorthLakes Community Clinic’s plans to expand into Hurley.

The non-profit organization leased Paul Hagemann’s former dental office on 5th Avenue in Hurley earlier this month, with plans to open later this summer.

Clinic CEO Reba Rice told the board she was excited at the possibilities, and that the community would ultimately shape what services the clinic provides in Iron County.

“We are very committed to Hurley. The question is, what does Hurley want? What does Hurley need? Are we the right answer to that question,” Rice told the board. “Community health centers don’t go in and insert themselves.”

Initially, the Rice said the plan is to use the Hagemann building to offer behavioral health and chiropractic services. Those services could change though, as she emphasized community feedback as a key part of the organization’s philosophy.

“It’s really about what the community asks for,” Rice said Thursday. “We’re planning to come with behavioral health and chiropractics, at the request of the community. So the community asked for those services, so that’s what we’re starting with.”

She hopes the Hurley location will be open in June or July, as minor renovations and the final paperwork are still being completed.

There are a variety of methods to gauge community needs, according to Rice — including the creation of a community advisory community, community studies and surveys, and using information from the local community health improvement plan.

She said the clinic also verifies there aren’t better ways to offer those services.

“Every piece of information we have we try to double-check with the stakeholders that it matters to,” Rice said, giving the example of coordinating with existing providers to confirm additional resources are actually needed.

“It’s always a (system of) checks-and-balances. We use the data we have and the information we get from our stakeholders, and then we double-check that with our partners and then we start a conversation if that’s necessary,” she said. “If everybody’s in full agreement that a certain service is needed, then we just go for it.”

The Hagemann building is only intended to be temporary, Rice said, while the clinic determines the local needs and what its long-term presence here will look like. Part of mapping the long-term presence is the pursuit of a grant to fund the clinic’s expanded Iron County presence, Rice said, if the demand is strong enough.

NorthLakes Community Clinic also has locations in Ashland, Balsam Lake, Birchwood, Hayward, Iron River, Lakewood, Minong, Oconto, Park Falls, Turtle Lake, Washburn and White Lake. Its services include medical, chiropractic, dental, behavioral health counseling — including substance abuse, disorder and recovery services — optometry, psychiatric services, pediatric, speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy and prescriptions for patients.

Regardless of the services offered in Iron County, Rice said the organization is committed to the community.

“We intend to be in the community — the community has made it pretty clear they want us there, so we’re not thinking about backing up. We’re just not sure how big we’ll get,” she said.

 
 

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