The Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood is asking all to be patient with the remodeling process the clinic is currently undergoing. To make the facility more inviting and peaceful, CEO Nichole Long wrote a grant to fund the remodel. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), a federal organization which supports the clinic, donated $100,000 for the remodel, which is expected to be complete by August. 

“We are creating spaces that are safe, secure, calming, an atmosphere of being at home or with a friend, rather than an institution,” Long said. “It’s about having a space where the patient feels secure to have difficult conversations.”

Long said much research exists on how an environment can improve the level of care in a clinic. She said UMC will get updates in paint, flooring and furniture. The color pallet will include greens and some blues. She added the design is very earthy and highlights natural materials. No interior designer has helped with the project.  

The funds were awarded in the fall, but the clinic followed certain protocols and were able to use the award for the renovation in May. 

Additionally, Long wrote a grant that will fund substance abuse support, specifically for opioids.

State officials have said opioid abuse continues to increase in Colorado, and HRSA has also given money to UMC to help support those who need assistance with addiction. 

“First off, we wanted to expand the types of services,” Long said. 

She said medical providers at UMC are in the process of becoming certified in administering medication-assisted therapy for opioid-use disorder. She said the providers will be able to prescribe a medication called Suboxone, which is not an opiate like methadone. She said dealing with the medication requires highly specific training. 

She said it can help people who became addicted to their prescription drugs or who have chronic pain and have been addicted for some time. 

Already, she feels UMC has protocols in place so that patients do not become addicted to prescription drugs. She said when Dr. Heather Linder, MD joined the clinic in 2016, she made it a priority to closely monitor opioids and implemented standard procedures related to the drugs. 

“That has been incredibly successful,” Long said. 

The substance abuse grant totals another $100,000. Now, that will pay for behavioral health specialist Shelley Fourney’s salary. Fourney was previously employed by the Center for Mental Health, but will now work as a UMC employee. Also, the funds helped staff new registered nurse Rachel Allen. 

Long said Linder, Fourney and Allen are all certified in a specialized ear treatment, which supports detoxing from substances, mental health and more. 

Long said she wants the community to know that UMC is a safe place, one that takes extra precautions with confidentiality. She said for anyone working to get off opioids, UMC is a place they can trust. 

“This is a fully integrated team. You could see the provider, the nurse and the behavioral health specialist. We are able to serve those people who need help.”