Chiricahua Community Health Center – Benson News-Sun
Chiricahua Community Health Center
Ceremonial groundbreaking for new Benson Medical Center
By Chris Dabovich firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the San Pedro Valley News-Sun Aug 16, 2017
Chiricahua Community Health Center’s Benson presence took a step forward Monday toward a more prominent and permanent role in the community.
A groundbreaking ceremony Monday afternoon brought CCHC officials and board members, as well as representatives from the community, City of Benson, Benson Hospital and other professional entities.
Richard Sampson, CCHC Chief Operations Officer, offered the welcoming address and introduced board members and others, while Jonathan Melk, MD Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Rob Fischrup, Vast Real Estate Solution, and Mayor Toney King, who delivered a proclamation, all addressed the 60 or so people in attendance in the Progressive Medical Group parking outside Dr. Michael Gray’s practice which has served Benson and San Pedro Valley residents for 31 years.
The new Benson Medical Center will bring 30 jobs and eight physicians to provide the highest quality pediatric, adult, behavioral health, and dietetic care to the community, according to CCHC.
Recounting Chiricahua’s upward trajection since its founding in 1996 in Elfrida, Melk spoke of CCHC’s vision “…to provide high quality health care to all people regardless of ability to pay or insurance status within the community that they lived,” and which included a strategic plan to provide access for affordable health care to all communities in Cochise County.
Melk described how community members and organizations asked for a mobile medical clinic. “When we actually pulled data on who was using a Chiricahua service from this area, we were surprised to find nearly 1,000 active charts — men, women and children,” he explained.
Upon securing a Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona for an additional mobile clinic to service Benson, demands for service have steadily increased. “This first hand experience of providing care in Benson has served to reinforce the additional needs that the community has, and with the help of Vast Real Estate Solutions, we have decided to move forward in a big way — construct a new, state-of-the art 19,000 square foot facility that can be expanded as needed. …This is a very exciting project for us and we are anxious to build, to employ and to serve.”
Melk went on to acknowledge Dr. Michael Gray, his team and board “for welcoming our mobile team to base out of your facility. We are very inspired by your decades of service to all people of Benson,” as well as Benson Hospital CEO Richard Polheber and team he described as “excellent and valued partners of Chiricahua. He also thanked VAST Real Estate Solutions for their investments in Chiricahua and the communities they serve.
“Having the Chiricahua Community Health Center here in Benson is a tremendous advance towards providing much needed care to this community,” said Gray. “The federally funded community health centers system across the country is over 1400 clinics, it is the only health care initiative supported by both sides of the aisle in Congress. It has been providing care to the underserved uninsured for a very long time and as an entity, it emulates the concept that health care is a right, and not a privilege.”
“This is really exciting, it’s going to be bringing jobs and of course the services for the patients and the community, commented Lupe Diaz, representing Benson/San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really needed.”