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Community Health clinic coming to Harvard

HARVARD – Community Health Partnership will cater to a much broader patient base when the clinic opens a new Harvard location.

The clinic is moving into the former offices of the Harvard Chamber of Commerce, 62 N. Ayer St.

Now more than 40 years old, Community Health Partnership of Illinois typically has served migrant and seasonal farm workers. But the Woodstock clinic, 13711 W. Jackson St., received a $450,000 grant last year to begin offering care to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients.

Those funds soon will go toward providing services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients at the Harvard clinic, 62 N. Ayer St., as the clinic adds a location to fit the needs of the county. The Woodstock clinic will stay open in a much-limited capacity.

Community Health Partnership, which isn't affiliated with the closely named Family Health Partnership Clinic, will start accepting contractor bids for remodeling within a couple of weeks.

"I can quote one of the people we spoke to when we were working on the needs assessment in the community ... 'If people can't get what they need in Harvard, they just do without,'" said Susan Bauer, executive director of Community Health Partnership of Illinois. "This was something that was really needed."

The clinic will look to incorporate a mental health services room within building plans. The room will be open for use by other area agencies.

"We want that to be integrated into a primary care setting so it's not as stigmatized," Bauer said. "Some people might be hesitant to go to a mental health facility."

Bauer said the Harvard clinic could expand in the future to provide dental services if it receives future funding.

Community Health Partnership of Illinois, which has seven locations within the state, has been in McHenry County for more than three decades. It's taken residence in Crystal Lake, McHenry, Woodstock and Harvard.

The clinic moved to Woodstock from Harvard about 15 years ago to follow the needs of the county.

But the needs of the county once again shifted, and more and more of the Woodstock clinic's patients have been coming from Harvard, Bauer said.

"We've always stayed light on our feet as far as where we do business and how we do business," she said.

Once the Harvard location opens, Community Health will look to expand its reach into surrounding communities.

The not-for-profit's Mendota clinic similarly serves a patient base that extends beyond farmworkers. Bauer said that clinic sees about 2,000 patients a year, many of whom come from outside Mendota.

"That's really been the template for our Harvard clinic, and that's been going great," she said.

The new clinic in Harvard will employ about 10 people, whereas the Woodstock location employed just two full-time before the grant. At 4,200 square feet, it also is about four times as big.

Bauer said there are no plans to close the Woodstock clinic.

"We do want to make certain that we still have a presence in Woodstock, but it's going to be a very limited one," she said.

Community Health Partnership of Illinois operates seven clinics in Illinois, including Hoopeston, Kankakee, Mendota, Rantoul and two in Aurora.

For more information, call 815-337-9640.

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