The University of Colorado College of Nursing has been awarded a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the college’s faculty practice at Sheridan Health Services (SHS), Inc. SHS is a College of Nursing's nurse-managed, 501c3 subsidiary providing health care to the underserved of Sheridan, Colo. and surrounding communities. With this funding, the clinic has been granted Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) New Access Point status by HHS.
“The College of Nursing has been involved with Sheridan since the mid-‘90’s," said Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and associate dean for Clinical and Community Affairs, and the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Rural Health Nursing Endowed Chair at the College. "The original pediatric School-Based Clinic was founded by The Children’s Hospital, now Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) from our college have provided health care at the clinic since it opened in 1995. Our expanded Sheridan Health Services opened in May 2011 and provides primary care and mental health services to Sheridan and surrounding community residents of all ages. Adding adult services provides a unique opportunity to expand the services originally provided in the School-Based clinic to all of the underserved of Sheridan.”
Erica Schwartz, DNP, CNM, RN, assistant professor and director of midwifery services at the College of Nursing, and executive director of Sheridan Health Services (SHS) said “We are thrilled to be the recipients of the FQHC New Access Point. The designation and funding will positively impact the provision of healthcare services to individuals in Sheridan and the surrounding communities.”
The grant will support increased access to care. Operating two clinics – a school-based health center attached to Sheridan Middle School and a community clinic on Fort Logan – SHS provides healthcare services to patients ranging from newborns to seniors citizens. Offering primary care, behavioral health services, substance abuse treatment, dentistry services and prenatal care, SHS provides comprehensive, quality healthcare to otherwise underserved populations.
“The two health care centers work because they target individuals at the neighborhood level where national policy and social realities meet,” Schwartz said. “Caring, compassion and connectedness are germane to the environment and intertwined with the healthcare delivery. Providers treat the whole family, not as separate individuals but as a community whose members share an environment of health risks and health opportunities.“
Nurse-managed health centers expand the definition of healthcare to deal with some of the most serious problems facing American society including family, adolescent and neighborhood violence; drug addictions; emotional disturbances; and the environmental aspects of diseases, including asthma, obesity and birth defects. SHS functions as a patient-centered medical home aimed to establish community-based interdisciplinary teams that promote access to care across the lifespan.
“This is a very important milestone for Sheridan Health Services," said Patricia Moritz, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and dean of the College of Nursing. "The funding will enhance health care opportunities for the people of Sheridan and enable the college to expand clinical experiences for our Advanced Practice nurse practitioner and nurse midwifery students as clinic services increase.”
In total, 219 health centers across the U.S. were awarded FQHC New Access Point designation.