Attending the July 31 opening of Health Commons, the home of the state Public Health Office and Las Clinicas Del Norte are, from left, Jeff Lara, deputy director of the Public Health Division, Public Health Director Dr, Karin Rhodes, Deputy Secretary of Health Dr. Abinash Achrekar, Nick Boukas, regional director for the Northeast Region for the Department of Health, and Los Alamos Public Schools Supt. Kurt Steinhaus. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott, far left, Dr. Julie Craig, center, and Donna Casados, Los Alamos County Social Services Manager. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Roxanne Rodriguez, left, school-based coordinator for Las Clinicas Del Norte, and Andrea Sandoval, executive director of Las Clinicas Del Norte July 31 at the soft opening for Health Commmons. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Nurse practitioner Adriana Gonzales is part of the team at the new Health Commons at 1183 Diamond Drive, Suite D. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos County Council Chair Sara Scott, Councilor David Izraelevitz, center and Deputy Secretary of Health Dr. Abinash Achrekar listen to a presentation on the Health Commons by Los Alamos County Social Services Manager Donna Casados. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Just months after Los Alamos High School students expressed their belief there was a dire need in the community for mental health, reproductive health and physical health services, the Health Commons opened its doors Aug. 1 combining the services of the state Public Health Office and Las Clinicas del Norte at one location.
The new offices are at 1183 Diamond Drive, Suite D, along the left side of the building directly across the street from LAHS. The Public Health Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while Las Clinicas Del Norte (LCDN) provides services on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Los Alamos County Council signed a contract May 7 with Las Clinicas Del Norte for $1,050,000 to provide health care, behavioral and family planning services from May 2019 through June 2026. Under the contract, LCDN will have a minimum of a licensed and certified nurse practitioner, a licensed behavioral health provider, a medical assistant and a receptionist.
LCDN is required to provide consultations, examinations and referrals to other facilities when medically indicated, advice for effective usage of contraceptives and practices. Family planning services are also so be provided including contraceptives supplies, referrals to other facilities when medically indicated and advice for effective usage of contraceptives, The LCDN contract states that confidential family planning services for teens will be provided under federal regulations regarding confidentiality and parental consent while in compliance with all applicable laws regarding abuse, rape and sexual abuse/molestation. Services will also be provided for screening, treatment and referral for sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).
Behavioral health services included individual group and family therapy. LCDN’s primary care services include immunization, annual physicals, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions and follow-up care.
The Public Health Office offers Children’s Medical Services by referral and appointment. CMS care provides care coordination/case management, medical care and insurance assistance for children with chronic illnesses; diagnostic and healthcare payment with eligibility and specialty outreach clinics.
Also at the Public Health Office are services for family planning, STD testing, pregnancy testing, HIV testing and counseling, overdose prevention, hepatitis testing and counseling, tuberculosis treatment and management, immunizations and outreach educational health services.
WIC services at the Public Health Office provide supplemental food, nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, and referrals to other health and social services programs Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the 2019 state legislature, Rep. Christine Chandler pushed for the inclusion of a recurring $150,000 a year for a full-service public health facility in Los Alamos after the state reduced the hours and services some two years earlier. Chandler had met with the Secretary of the Department of Health to express her concerns. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ultimately signed a bill putting the $150,000 in place.
In the space of just a few months, Los Alamos County worked out a plan to house the two agencies in the same location. Supporting public health improvement was one of the seven strategic goals identified by Los Alamos County Council earlier this year.