CHC votes to pursue Dayton clinic

DAYTON – A soon-to-be-shuttered medical clinic in Dayton may see new life.

Members of the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge board voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with plans to operate a satellite office in Dayton.

The facility would replace the Van Diest Medical Center clinic, which is slated to close in late June.

Pending approval from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the Dayton satellite clinic could open as soon as June 23, said Renae Kruckenberg, CHC chief executive officer.

The clinic would provide comprehensive medical services and be staffed by a provider, nurse and receptionist, Kruckenberg said.

Established in 2006, the Community Health Center of Fort Dodge operates a clinic at 126 N. 10th St. CHC provides comprehensive medical services for men, women and children and charges fees based on a patient’s ability to pay. The center has provided dental care since 2009.

Dental services would not be offered at the Dayton clinic, Kruckenberg said.

On April 9, members of the Dayton City Council voted to endorse an effort to secure a contract with the Community Health Center.

During that meeting, city council member Kevin Diehl said an early version of the proposed contract calls for the Dayton community to pay rent and utilities for the clinic building at 24 S. Main St. for the first six months after the Community Health Center begins operating the clinic. He said the Health Center would then take over responsibility for those costs.

A five-member committee has led the effort to replace the Van Diest Medical Center clinic, which the VDMC board of trustees voted to close during its March 18 meeting. Medical center leaders cited an anticipated $70,000 annual loss as the reason for closing it.

But as a Federally Qualified Health Center, CHC operates as a federally funded nonprofit corporation, Kruckenberg said.

Establishing satellite clinics in addition to the Fort Dodge center had been discussed as part of CHC’s strategic plan, she said.

“This is a good fit for us,” said Kruckenberg.

Several present CHC patients are residents of Dayton, she said.

Committee member Ken Sanders, of Dayton, was among the delegation that addressed the CHC board Tuesday.

Sanders said that the committee explored several options and found that working with CHC was “by far” the best choice.

“We need a clinic in this town,” Sanders said. “We’re a small town. … I hate to see it wither away.”