County, Alluvion partnering for health officer services temporarily
Alluvion Health was previously the Community Health Care Center and formally split from the county effective Dec. 31, 2018.
But, the agencies are still intertwined and a number of county employees are moving to Alluvion.
One of those employees is Tanya Houston, who has been the county health officer and director of the Cascade County City-County Health Department.
Houston starts full-time at Alluvion on March 4 as the director of communications and workforce development, leaving a vacancy at the county.
On Friday, the County Commission approved a contract with Alluvion for interim health officer services.
Essentially, Houston will continue the duties of the county health officer for the time being.
The contract approved by commissioners runs March 1 through Aug. 31, but could be extended and pays Alluvion $3,500 monthly.
Until a new county health officer is hired, Alluvion is also taking over administrative duties for CCHD, including prevention services, emergency preparedness, communications, family health services, environmental health and accounting.
Commissioner Joe Briggs said the agreement buys the county time to make a good hire for the health officer position.
Commissioner Jane Weber said Houston’s departure leaves “a big hole in our organization.”
Trista Besich, Allubion director, said it’s an opportunity to consider the partnership that had existed with CCHD for years. The agencies were co-located in the same downtown building and Alluvion is maintaining a presence in that building, at least for the time being.
Alluvion has purchased the Rocky Mountain Building and is working to rehabilitate the significant downtown building that has been a vacant eyesore since a 2009 fire.
Alluvion is federally funded and the target demographic is those at 200 percent of the poverty level or below. Besich said last fall that there are 32,000 people in Cascade County in that category.
But Alluvion is open to all county residents and accepts insurance and offers sliding scales based on income for service fees.
The federal poverty level for 2018, according to healthcare.gov, was $12,140 for an individual and 200 percent of the poverty level is $24,280.
Alluvion is a non-profit with a governing board.
CCHD opened what was previously called the Community Health Care Center in 1994 to support increased access to care for the uninsured, underinsured and underserved patients. In 2012, the CHCC started operating as a separate department within the county with a long-term goal of becoming an independent agency, according to CHCC.
Alluvion offers medical, dental and behavior health services. They’ve also partnered with Gateway to provide addiction services.