A new health center in Mason City is expected to provide much-needed medical and dental care to low-income residents of the community who currently need to travel to other cities for help.
The Community Health Center of Fort Dodge is set to open another location in Mason City in October.
Start-up costs for the new center total $2.4 million, said center CEO Renae Kruckenberg. Center funds, fundraising and federal, state and private grants have provided the money.
The center will charge patients on a sliding fee scale based on income and household size, Kruckenberg said. One of the center’s main goals is to help those who’ve been incarcerated or are facing social challenges, she said.
“It’s a non-judgmental, open environment,” Kruckenberg said. “We’re not worried about what kind of past you have, we want to make you feel welcome and that it’s a safe place to receive health care.”
The downtown location will also help with overall access, Kruckenberg said.
Other health organizations in Mason City are discussing partnerships with the new center.
The Prairie Ridge Treatment Center may move some of its services to the center, said Jay Hansen, executive director of the treatment center.
“We see them as another good resource for patients and another partner to collaborate with health care,” he said.
Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa may also work with the new center. The center will help increase local dental care options, said Debbie Abben, community health manager and community benefit ministry officer at Mercy Medical.
“Collaboratively, we’ll be working arm-in-arm,” she said. “We all serve patients of North Iowa, so if we’re not able to access-wise get somebody in, hopefully we’re make a referral … hopefully in our community, and keep them here.”