Melrose health clinic in works

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The Village of Melrose has been without a primary health care giver for more than 10 years, according to Mayor Lance Pyle.

The last source for primary health care in the village was a doctor that made weekly visits and provided medical service out of the Melrose city hall, said Melrose City Clerk Cathy Christianson.

“The only thing that we’ve ever had were doctors that came over here and they’d stay for a day and treat people that needed help, but we’ve never had a real clinic,” she said.

A new option may soon arrive.

Curry County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for a health clinic in Melrose.

The grant amount depends on income and demographic surveys, but could amount to about $500,000, according to Curry County Grant Coordinator Connie Harrison.

To seek medical help, or a simple checkup, Melrose residents have to drive at least 30 miles to Portales, Fort Sumner or Clovis, said Clovis Health Office Director Gayla Jaquess.

“Having it in town is more convenient for them. It’s better serving if they get sick or just need their blood pressure checked, or don’t feel too well, to just drive down the street a couple of miles or one mile to see the doctor instead of having to drive 30 minutes for that,” said Pyle, who is also the Curry County Assistant Manager.

Gayla Jaquess said the Curry County Wellness Council did a survey on health care in Melrose and the results showed a need for a clinic in the village, especially during bad weather.

“I think it would be awesome for Melrose and be quite an asset for that community,” she said.

The city must secure a 10 percent match before the grant could be awarded, Harrison said. Pyle said he will work with state representatives to get capital outlay help for matching funds.

County administrators held two meetings last month seeking public input on a project the county could apply for CDBG funding. About 60 Melrose residents attended a meeting the county held to support building a health clinic in the area, Pyle said.

Elected officials from Fort Sumner and House also expressed support for the clinic, which will also serve the two areas, Pyle said.

Harrison said she will have to do an income survey and send the application before the December deadline.

The county should have an answer on the grant in March and could then start a bidding process for doctors and equipment, Pyle said.