A health center in Olathe that primarily serves low-income and uninsured patients is expanding.
River Valley Family Health Center is opening a location in Montrose this week. A majority of the health center’s patients are on Medicaid or don’t have insurance.
Last year, River Valley moved into a larger site in Olathe. However, Debby Harrison-Zarkis, the organization’s CEO, says they’ve already outgrown it.
"We are opening a clinic in Montrose for a couple of reasons," says Harrison-Zarkis. "One is that we need more space to see more patients and the second is 53 percent of our patients live in Montrose. So it just made sense for us to go to them so they don’t have to drive to Olathe to see us."
The Montrose site opens Wednesday and the ribbon cutting ceremony is Thursday.
Harrison-Zarkis says it will have a doctor, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, and licensed therapist on staff. They will also have someone to help enroll people in Medicare, Medicaid and health coverage programs.
As a federally qualified health center, River Valley is different from other practices. It receives 29 percent of it’s funding from the federal government.
"We get an enhanced reimbursement rate from Medicaid, which means we get more than the typical provider gets to serve those Medicaid patients," she says. "And, what this does is not only help us serve those Medicaid patients, but it gives us the funds to be able to see patients who don’t have insurance."
Harrison-Zarkis says River Valley is accepting new patients. And since August, the health center has seen more than 750 new patients and is hoping to reach 1,000 by Dec. 1.