Sheridan Health Services, a University of Colorado College of Nursing nurse-led community health center in the Denver metro area, recently passed the Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) Compliance Review with a 100 percent rating. Faculty and students from CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences also play an integral role at the clinic.
As a federally qualified health center (FQHC), Sheridan Health Services receives funds from the HRSA Health Center program to provide high quality, accessible, and affordable care in underserved areas and as such undergoes an operational site visit and review every two years. They must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.
According to CEO Erica Sherer, DNP, “The site visit is to evaluate the health center from top to bottom, and this year for the first time ever, we received a perfect score.” This is the third operational visit that the family health clinic has received since becoming a federally qualified facility in 2012.
“If the center is not compliant, it risks losing funding and the care for the community disappears,” said Sherer. Sixty-five percent of the patients at Sheridan are Hispanic/Latino and 40 percent are best served in a language other than English. The majority of staff speak Spanish and provide culturally linguistic and appropriate services.
CU College of Nursing Dean Eli Provencio-Vasquez said, “It is very unusual to obtain a perfect score from the HRSA Compliance Review body. HRSA informed us that only .003% of health centers across the country achieve that rating based on a review of 91 elements focusing on administration, finance, and clinical care. We are very proud of our unique nurse-led model of care and the staff, faculty, and providers who were instrumental in achieving this recognition, but also who provide phenomenal care and make the patient experience outstanding.”
The clinic serves 3,300 patients and sees 12,000 patient visits annually. It provides services including primary care, dental health, behavioral health, pediatrics, and a newly refurbished pharmacy — staffed by CU Pharmacy faculty and students. An area that has been a tremendous asset to the clinic and its patients. “The pharmacy has brought a lot of value and depth of value to our clinic especially with regard to diabetes management, which will be recognized nationally as a promising practice,” said Sherer.
Seventy-eight percent of Sheridan’s patients are below 200% of the federal poverty level. However, the clinic serves a wide variety of patients of diverse incomes. “In fact, anyone can be a patient. I am a patient and so is my mother,” said Sherer. “We accept insured and uninsured patients and have a sliding fee scale based upon income and family size. We are not a free clinic, but we are affordable.”
There are nearly 1,400 health center organizations with more than 11,000 locations in urban, suburban and rural communities across the country. The centers serve more than 24 million patients — nearly 1 in 12 U.S. residents — annually.