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The Lakes CHC Celebrates National Health Center Week with the Grand Re-Opening of Clinic in Iron River

August 9, 2010

The second week of every August marks the national celebration of community health centers across the country. The Lakes Community Health Center (The Lakes CHC), with clinics in Iron River and Ashland, will be joining in the festivities with a Grand Re-Opening Celebration of their clinic in Iron River, 7665 US Hwy 2, on August 12 from 4 to 6 pm. The event will be an opportunity for the public to tour the remodeled clinic space and learn more about new services offered.

Now complete, the remodeling and construction project included the addition of a radiology suite, a physical therapy room, a procedure room and two mental health spaces in addition to several offices and a larger patient lobby.

“From the moment we decided to create our clinic in this building in the fall of 2007, we knew that we were going to need to remodel,” said Reba Rice, Executive Director of The Lakes CHC. “What we didn’t know was that stimulus money would become available right away and we would end up doubling the size of the clinic so quickly!”

Shortly after renovations began, the Board voted to add radiology, physical therapy and mental health.

“We found that almost half of our patients were not following up on referral orders for diagnostic tests for a variety of reasons,” said Jason Akl, Clinical Manager at The Lakes CHC. “Now with the ability to perform diagnostic tests in-house, we are offering a service to our patients so they can get the tests they need with less inconvenience and cost.”

Physical Therapy services are a joint effort between The Lakes CHC and Orthopedic Spine Therapy (OST). Earlier in July, Kerry Lahti started seeing patients on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm at the clinic and because of such high demand, already plans to add Thursdays starting August 12.

“We are excited about this partnership with OST because it allows us to offer physical therapy services closer to home to those patients who live in the Iron River area,” Akl said.

Appointments, payment and insurance will all be managed through OST’s office in Poplar. Interested patients can call 715-364-8565.

Mental health services is the third component of the community health center model now available at The Lakes CHC.

“We had the amazing good luck to have a highly qualified mental health provider approach us with a desire to work together to bring critical services to our community. David Beeksma, PhD, LPC has come on board as our Director of Mental Health Services and will help us get our program up and running,” said Rice.

Beeksma is currently working with staff to develop an integrated mental health system that provides behavioral health in a primary care setting.

“The great thing about working at The Lakes Community Health Center is that I’m able to provide brief behavioral consults to clients, if needed, during a primary care visit,” said Beeksma. “So the patient has access to immediate services, there’s no referrals or the need to set up an additional appointment at some point in the future.”

In addition to an integrated model, The Lakes CHC will also be able to provide more traditional mental health services such as psychological evaluations, therapy and psycho-education.

“The mission of every Community Health Center is to improve access to comprehensive primary health care, this includes not just primary medical care but also oral health services and mental health services. We are thrilled to be a fully functioning Community Health Center within just 2 1/2 years of opening our doors,” said Rice. “Our success is proof of the community’s commitment to improving the health of its residents.”

The Lakes Community Health Center in Iron River is located at 7665 US Highway 2. The clinic in Ashland, which offers dental care for children, is located at 719 Main Street E. Both clinics are open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm with the addition of Saturday hours of 9 am to 1 pm at the clinic in Iron River. To make an appointment, call 715-372-5001 or 715-685-2200. For more information about services offered, the sliding fee scale or to see photos, visit thelakesCHC.org.

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