Columbine health care alive and well

Thirty-six years ago, a trailer pulling a double wide modular building lumbered up the canyon to Nederland where it became the first health clinic in the area. It was a time to celebrate. The Mountain Family Health Center opened its doors and thrived, creating another facility in Black Hawk, Glenwood Springs and Idaho Springs.

At last the mountain residents had access to a doctor, to health exams, to prescriptions. Since then, another health venue opened: the Columbine Family Health Center was created by Drs. Maurice Fauvel and Susan Morrison. When Dr. Fauvel chose to not own the business anymore, he turned it over to Dr. Michael Camarata who took on the challenge of owning and running the Columbine clinic.

After a couple years, he left the building on the highway and moved the clinic to the more accessible location in the Nederland Shopping Center that Mountain Family had left some years before. It was a also a larger space to accommodate Camarata’s dream of bringing in a variety of health services.

At the end of this past August the MFHC announced that it was closing its doors in Black Hawk as of November 26. In their goodbye letter, CEO Ross Brooks gives advice on how and where patients can transfer their health care needs.

It does not mention the four years of service that Dr. Mike Camarata has given to the Gilpin County and Nederland area community. It does not mention the  added alternative health therapies such as acupuncture and massage, and Catherine Valens’ Chiropractic office which has been serving the mountain area for over two decades.

In October, Columbine will celebrate its fourth anniversary. In the past week the Nederland clinic has hired a family nurse practitioner who will provide family healthcare and Women’s Health Services. Marri Collom is having an open house this Saturday, September 13, from 1-4 p.m. and would love to meet the people she anticipates working with.

We will miss the Mountain Family Health Center, but it is good to know that Columbine is here to serve the needs of Nederland and Gilpin County.