Mary Meyer of the state Public Health Office leads a tour of the new building followed closely by Rio Rancho Mayor Jim Owen and Jeff Radford of the Corrales Comment newspaper.
Bernalillo Health Commons open for business
The idea of combining diverse health and social services in a one-stop setting grew into a necessity as costs rose and budgets tightened.
Over more than ten years, the idea grew into the Sandoval County Health Commons opening this month.
“The 1990s saw a growing realization that there had to be a better way to provide health services,” Jill Von Osten of the Sandoval County Community Health Alliance said after the October 28 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Five years ago we began to think a one-stop facility was feasible.”
The $1.2 million facility on Idalia, west of NM 528, brings together medical, dental, mental health, and social services in part to save costs. However, the one-stop concept also provides almost instant referrals when one provider spots a client who needs the help of another provider.
A pilot program has been operating for a half day a week at the county courthouse since last year.
The 10,200-square-foot building is the first structure to open on a fifty-six-acre former shooting range purchased by the county. A $7.9 million justice center under construction nearby is to open early next year.
The Health Commons will house the state Public Health Department, the Women, Infants and Children program, the Sandoval County Family Services program, and a dentist still to be hired through the county. The services are open to all county residents regardless of income.
Roughly one-third of Sandoval County residents qualify for Medicaid and other public services.
“It's hard to imagine we've been at this for ten years,” said Mary Meyers of the state Public Health Office. “The real work is about to begin.”
Von Osten described the project as a true public-private partnership with the alliance, a combination of business, government, and nonprofit leaders, overseeing the project for the county. “This is a model we hope will be duplicated across the state,” she said.
The alliance project is supported in part by a Kellogg Foundation grant aimed at providing health-care services for underserved populations. Bonds approved by county voters paid for the building, which was awaiting furnishings at the time of its dedication.
USFS reposts signs on loop road
The United States Forest Service recently posted signs regarding restricted mechanized travel along Forest Road 44 at the boundary of the Cibola National Forest and the Sandia National Wilderness. These restrictions apply to mountain bikers who have been using some of the trails.
Rick Atwell, wilderness manager for the Sandia Ranger District, told the Signpost that the signs do not reflect a change in policy. The USFS is replacing signs that have fallen into disrepair or disappeared since they were placed along the boundaries in 1986. He said that the signs have nothing to do with recent controversy that apparently led to the booby-trapping of trails. Trails off the forest road known to the many local users as the “loop road” are open to mountain bikes. All forms of mechanized travel are prohibited in federally protected wilderness areas.
Atwell pointed out that there is a $3 parking fee, but that there is no charge for use of the national forest. Bikers and hikers can be dropped off at trailheads.
For information and maps of trails in the national forest and wilderness area, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/cibola.
Everything you need to know about lobbying in Santa Fe
The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual lobbying seminar, Do You Know Your Way in Santa Fe?, on December 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown. The day-long event will cover topics including Powerful Staffers and How to Access Them, Written and Unwritten Rules and Procedures, Ethical Standards and Permitted Activities, and When and How to Hire a Professional Lobbyist. The format will include a series of panels, individual presentations, and a question-and-answer session.
Who should attend? Those who want to know how to be effective in getting their point across, those who want to know more about the prominent issues in the next legislative session, and those who want to know more about the legislative process.
To register, contact Cyndi Smith at 764-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The attendance fee is $125 for members, $150 for nonmembers.