Mountain Family Health Centers Celebrates Four Decades of Expanding Health Care Across the Western Slope

Mountain Family Health Centers’ roots date to 1978 in Black Hawk, Colorado, when the area’s only physician retired. Citizens formed the Gilpin County Health Clinic, later becoming Columbine Family Health Centers, with clinics in Black Hawk and Nederland. Columbine’s success was noted by towns west of the Continental Divide who saw their own medical resources dwindling in the 1990s, when the area’s only pediatric practice willing to accept Medicaid suddenly closed its doors. Columbine Family Health Centers was then asked to open a clinic in Glenwood Springs.

As it expanded, Columbine became Mountain Family Health Centers, opening clinics in Rifle and Basalt in 2011 and Edwards in 2014. During this time Mountain Family also began providing dental and behavioral health services to fully integrate the provision of health care and address total patient wellness.

Continuing its expansion, Mountain Family opened its first school-based health center in 2016 in Avon. In order to increase access to dental care, Mountain Family opened a mobile dental van in 2017 (first located in El Jebel), and added the SMILES Dental Project tele-dentistry in Parachute, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, and Avon in 2017 and 2018.

Today, Mountain Family Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center system serving more than 21,000 patients across the West Mountain region of Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties. Mountain Family clinics are certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Level III Patient-Centered Medical Homes. The organization continually enlarges its clinics, with a capital campaign currently in
Basalt and future expansion in Edwards, to expand access to high quality, integrated medical, dental, and behavioral health care services across the Western Slope. Mountain Family Health Centers looks forward to the next 40 years of ‘Our Family, Caring for Yours.’

Garry Schalla is Mountain Family Health Centers’ Development Director.