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A message from our Board of Directors

August 30, 2011

The Lakes Community Health Center was founded in 2008 following a year-long community planning and startup process and now offers medical, dental and mental health services in Iron River and Ashland. Although The Lakes has operated entirely during a recession, we’ve created more than 40 jobs, undertaken three construction projects and are at work on a fourth and, most importantly, have had almost 12,000 patient encounters, the vast majority of whom are served by Medicaid.

What makes a community health center (CHC) different from a traditional clinic? CHCs are not-for-profit organizations and by law 51% of their volunteer boards must be consumers of the center’s services. That means that CHCs are in a very real way managed by and for their patients. The key underlying value of CHCs is that all people should have access to quality health care. What CHCs and other organizations have found is that making the initial investment in accessibility saves communities money – by keeping patients out of emergency rooms and by providing preventive care that can keep disease from starting or spreading.

In our fourth year of operation, we are confident that The Lakes has established a sustainable business model with a payer mix that has a majority of Medicaid patients. As our national discussion about Medicaid and other entitlement spending continues, The Lakes and other CHCs have important data to share about the positive effects of making health care accessible in rural and impoverished areas, and about the consequences of withdrawing care – both to patients and to our local economies.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Lakes or about the community health center model, please ask any of the undersigned board members or our Executive Director, Reba Rice. We’re proud of the work The Lakes does in our community and eager to help others get involved.

Sincerely,

Wendy Kloiber, Board Chair
John Joseph, Vice Chair
Rick Dowd, Treasurer
Peggy Hipsher, Secretary
Carol Anderson
Christine Austin
Susan Davis
Pat Deragon-Navarro
Carolyn Gouge
Jim Pedersen
Ruth Ritter
Fred Schlichting
John Schrock, MD
Jane Snilsberg
Deb Tutor
Mary Wichita

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