A new executive director is on board at A KidZ Clinic, the school-based health clinic operated by Delta County Joint School District #50 in partnership with the Center for Mental Health, Community Dental Clinic and Pediatric Associates.
The clinic, which opened in July 2014, has suffered some growing pains, including staff turnover which led to the selection of Joey Montoya Boese as the new director. A search is also being conducted for a nurse practition-er, although it's "business as usual" for any young person between the ages of 0-21 in need of medical services. The one-stop health care facility also provides mental/behavioral and dental health services.
"The integrated care model is new to me, but in terms of the management and the leadership, that's what I feel I can add," Boese said.
Boese had an opportunity to develop those skills at the Montrose campus of Colorado Mesa University. She served as assistant director for three years and director for seven years. In her 10th and final year with CMU, the campus doubled the size of its presence in Montrose.
Boese was raised in Fort Garland, a small community near Alamosa, and attended Adams State College. A desire to help kids, possibly as a pediatrician, led her to pursue a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. But she was also ingrained with a strong work ethic. Her parents both worked full time while operating a small business and later a farm. She obtained a second degree in business administration.
Upon graduation she was hired by Adams State as the marketing and public relations coordinator for distance learning. After three years she wanted to see what was beyond the San Luis Valley, so she moved to the "big city" of Montrose and began working for CMU. She obtained a master's in organizational leadership and strategic management through Colorado State University.
Boese says she was fortunate to be involved in the growth of the Montrose campus, but felt she was ready for the "next step." When she saw a posting for the opening at A KidZ Clinic, she knew exactly what the next step should be.
"I love the model of integrated care, being able to really address the whole person," she said. "Having a comfortable, accessible place like A KidZ Clinic adds value to our community."
The clinic has relied heavily on grant funding, and one of Boese's primary responsibilities will be to create a more self-sustaining funding model.
"The idea is to rely less and less on grant funding, although I still see grants as being part of the financial mix in terms of programs. Operationally, it is my goal to create a funding model that is sustainable."
The other challenge is marketing the clinic throughout Delta County, reaching out to families in the North Fork and the Surface Creek areas, making them aware of the clinic's benefits.
Behavioral health therapist Renee Joyce, dental hygienist Kristi Jenkins and the medical staff have taken some of their programs to the schools.
"It's important we get outside these walls and go connect with kids and their families," said Boese, who is determing how the clinic can add value to what counselors, school psychologists, school nurses and building administrators are already doing in the school district.
"The idea of school-based health clinics is to meet kids where they are," Boese said. "We want all our students to be healthy, so they are in school and learning."
The staff at A KidZ Clinic believes a large percentage of students in Delta County don't have a medical home, and they're hoping to fill that role.
"We want to ensure our entire county understands who we are, what we are and how we can be accessed. We will serve children and youth 0-21 regardless of their ability to play, help them connect to resources."
A KidZ Clinic accepts private insurance, Medicaid and CHP+. Assistance is available, through the adjoining Family Center and Connect for Colorado, for families who do not have health insurance. A sliding fee scale is available for self-pay patients.
The clinic is located at 360 E. 8th Street, northeast of the Delta Center. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, year-round, including school breaks. The clinic can be reached by calling 874-2753 or through its Facebook page. Drop-ins are welcome, but it's a good idea to call ahead to ensure the appropriate staff is in the office.