The North Fork EMS has a permanent home in Crawford thanks to a gift from the non-profit Needlerock Family Health Clinic. The NFHC Board of Directors recently donated its land and clinic building to the local emergency medical service organization.
Kathy Steckel, EMS district manager, said the gift will secure a home for the ambulance and crew and make it possible to continue to serve the Crawford area with prompt ambulance service. The clinic building will serve as overnight quarters and provide a station for Crawford EMTs, as well as those from outside the Crawford area.
North Fork EMS which serves a 1,500-square-mile in a three-county service area answers roughly 800 emergency calls every year. Today up to 35 active EMTs, paramedics and drivers are on-call round the clock from stations in Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford.
In order to staff the ambulances in three communities, the agency sometimes has to rely on EMTs from neighboring communities to cover shifts and respond quickly to 911 calls.
About eight months ago, Steckel approached Jenny Mitchell of the Needlerock Family Health Clinic with the idea of allowing on-call staff to sleep at the clinic.
“I just think it’s a good fit,” said Mitchell, who said she and her husband Tim mulled it over for months, but knew all along it was the right decision. “If they need it and need the space, then why not turn it over to them. We thought and thought about it, consulted the board, and said let’s do it.”
The non-profit Crawford Clinic formed in 2013 by the Mitchell family, will officially close Oct. 15.
“I appreciate my patients who were dedicated to my practice,” said Mitchell, who has accepted a nursing job in Alaska.
Mitchell will have the option to lease the space from EMS in the future. The clinic office will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays until the end of October and those wishing to pick up copies of their records are urged to call ahead.
“We’re not just responding to calls, but working on other projects to enhance medical care in the North Fork valley,” said Marcus Roeder, EMS board member.
“We want to create synergy with partnerships and alliances that will allow us to provide quality health care. Thanks to Jenny, this will allow us to provide that care,” said Roeder, adding that the EMS wishes to honor Mitchell’s contributions and her legacy of providing health care to North Fork Valley.
“We are forever grateful,” said Dan Miller, EMS president. “This generous gift is a wonderful opportunity for North Fork EMS to secure ambulance service in the area and grow their Community Paramedicine program. We are hoping to continue some of the good work of the clinic and help take care of people in the North Fork valley.”