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Published on September 09, 2015

Clinic Continues to Serve Underinsured and Uninsured After 25 years

St. Cloud, Minn. – CentraCare Family Health Center (formerly named Mid-Minnesota Health Clinic) opened in September 1990 to serve the primary health care needs for the uninsured and underinsured people within a 30-mile radius of St. Cloud.

“While the location, name and staffing model has changed over the years, the original mission to serve the health care needs for the area’s underserved continues today,” said Shar Wallack, Clinic Coordinator. “Last year, the clinic cared for more than 1,100 uninsured patients.”

Sister Dolores Super, OSB, Chair of St. Cloud Hospital’s Board of Directors from 1984-1994, was instrumental in moving the idea for a St. Cloud clinic to serve the under- and uninsured from concept to reality.

During the development stage, professionals from many area organizations who already served the clinic’s potential clients were invited to participate on a task force to provide input and identify needs. These organizations included: Caritas Family Services, Central MN COACT, Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Central Minnesota Senior Federation, DOMUS Transitional House, Lutheran Social Services, North Central Nurse Practitioners, St. Benedict’s Convent, St. Cloud Times, Salvation Army, Stearns County Community Health Services and Tri-CAP.

On September 24, 1990, Mid-Minnesota Health Clinic (MMHC) opened for service in the Memorial Medical Building, 48 North 29th Avenue, St. Cloud, a facility which St. Cloud Hospital had purchased and renovated.

By the mid-1990’s, the number of volunteer physicians at the clinic decreased, and the sole employed physician left the clinic. Due to these staffing challenges, a new model was developed. On January 5, 1998, Mid-Minnesota Health Clinic and Family Practice Center (medical residency clinic) merged to form the Mid-Minnesota Family Practice Center. Mid-Minnesota relocated from the Memorial Medical Building on 29th Avenue North to the Family Practice Center offices at 1520 Whitney Court, St. Cloud.

This new model provided the patients who were needed for training the residents and the physicians who were needed to care for the patients.

In 2001, Place of Hope drop-in center, 413 East St. Germain Street, and Mid-Minnesota Family Practice Center collaborated to begin free monthly health screenings at Place of Hope. The collaborative effort known as Project H.E.A.L. provided basic medical care during screening visits to the poor and homeless of the area. Through the years, Project H.E.A.L. has expanded to include Catholic Charities and Salvation Army in St. Cloud, as well as sites in Long Prairie, Melrose and most recently, Monticello. In the last fiscal year, these screening sites had 416 patient encounters.

On April 29, 2013, Mid-Minnesota Family Medicine Center moved from 1520 Whitney Court to 1555 Northway Drive and changed its name to CentraCare Family Health Center. The University of Minnesota/St. Cloud Hospital Family Medicine Residency program based at the Center, also moved to the new location, but retained its name.

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