Hospital seeks leg up with grants

by C.F. David

Cimarron Memorial Hospital , like many rural medical facilities, walks a straight and fine line to keep its doors open. Patsy Shields, the Chief Executive Officer of CMH, hopes to make that line a little thicker by obtaining grant monies.

Shields, with the assistance of Jolene Clinton-Helms, late of Colorado , are trying to obtain grant money for among other things, drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

The first grant would form a D.A.R.E. type organization, in an effort to teach children better health choices at a younger age. The grant would start the program in county elementary schools, (Clinton-Helms says they have cooperation with all four districts), and would later move the program into the high schools.

She explained that later, when more programs are in place, costs to the county in dealing with drivers charged with driving under the influence could be reduced by having the individuals go through a program.

Clinton-Helms explained that with Cimarron County 's and thereby the hospital's placement in the five-state area, legal entities from Texas , New Mexico , Colorado and Oklahoma could use the facilities and its programs.

“This could become a model project for the area. Cimarron County could become famous,” she said.

“Right now, we could set up an out patient site in our clinic,” Shields added. “It's down the road, but we've been looking for buildings for in patient care and a wellness center.

“Our outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation should start soon,” Shields said.

The quick start is due to Clinton-Helms being licensed in Oklahoma as a counselor. She also has degrees in early childhood development and special education.

Shields explained that under the umbrella of the wellness center would be such things as dentistry and optometry, (using doctors from outside the county). Later would come an area for a walking track, and exercise equipment, along with the staff to operate it.

“Later, we hope to have an assisted living center. It'll take several years. This won't all happen at once,” Shields explained.

Asked about efforts to bring obstetrics back to the hospital, Shields pointed out those surgical capabilities would have to return first.

“But something has to happen [to keep the hospital], “Shields added.

“This [ Cimarron County ] is a nice hub here,” Clinton-Helms said. “Nice people shouldn't have to drive to have babies and surgery.”

Clinton-Helms also thinks that a treatment center for domestic violence would work well here.

“People from Baca County [ Colorado ] will come down for that,” she said.

“There is nothing in the area for these people. We are pretty excited,” Shields said.

Again, Clinton-Helms pointed out that such treatment could reach into five states.

“We have staff interest,” she said.

She added that some colleges teaching clinical psychology are interested in interning students in such a facility.

“It's a very serious problem, and these students have to do their clinicals somewhere,” Shields said.

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