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Longmont’s Hopelight Medical Clinic Building Patient Base, Music Programs for Residents in Need

January 26, 2019
Hopelight Medical Clinic visiting paramedic Darren Conradson talks Larry Stelmack, 67, at Stelmack's home on the east side of Longmont, Friday. Conradson meets with Stelmack, who is diabetic, once a week. To view more photos visit timescall.com.

Hopelight Medical Clinic, run out of Longmont Church of Christ, expanded six months ago to offer more low-cost health care to people in need, and has even added singing and music lessons for adults to its list of myriad services.

The nonprofit’s work centers around providing health care, but it offers a broad range of services: private and group choral and musical instrument lessons, addiction recovery, counseling and tutoring for school-aged students.

“We’re able to serve a lot of different people not just in the medical realm, but we want to serve them in a holistic approach with whatever needs they may have,” Hopelight Director Devon Newburn said.

“A family may be stressed because of medical needs, but they also may be stressed because they don’t have enough food in the house, so we have a food pantry. Or their kids may not be doing well in school, so we have a tutoring center.”

In July, Hopelight added a new medical doctor, K. Lynn Walker, to its group caring for patients insured through Medicaid or not insured at all. That allowed the clinic to open five days a week instead of the two and a half days a week it operated before Walker’s addition, Hopelight Communications Director Alyssa Novak said.

The clinic — which is funded mostly with private donations, according to Novak — last year treated 600 Medicaid patients. But its expanded hours allowed by Walker’s addition led to the state Medicaid office allocating 2,200 Medicaid patients to Hopelight for their primary care this year, and it also currently has about 1,800 uninsured patients, according to Newburn.

The clinic has been able to see about 50 more patients each week than before it extended its hours.

It is also the only organization in the city, Newburn said, that provides Applied Behavior Analysis services, which are structured to help people with developmental disorders — especially those on the Autism spectrum — learn skills that are difficult for them.

Sixty families have children who are served by Hopelight’s behavioral health program.

Hopelight has more than 200 volunteers in any given month helping provide its suite of services, and 75 paid staff between all its programs.

“Most of our providers are volunteer. They believe in the cause, and that this is such a huge need in the community. They have servants’ hearts,” Novak said.

Patients sometimes pay as little as $2 or $3 for a doctor’s visit, Novak said, and never more than $20.

Darren Conradson, a community paramedic who works one day a week for Hopelight, has 16 patients he checks up on weekly in their own homes, with the goal of ensuring they have access to the health care and any other services they need to prevent unnecessary trips to the emergency room that are often made by people without insurance.

Conradson “has kind of schooled me in all the stuff I can get or that I really need,” said Larry Stelmack, a 67-year-old diabetic who is visited weekly by Conradson.

Stelmack has also developed a friendship with Conradson.

“It’s about building relationships with them and identifying what barriers they face and what are the needs, and how it is we can help get them connected. Because with Hopelight, we have a closet full of resources,” Conradson said.

Last year, Hopelight brought the Crescendo Fine Arts Academy — which offers music and art media classes — under its umbrella of services, and gave adults the option to take lessons starting in August.

Newburn is also a piano instructor for the Crescendo program, and said about 12 adults have taken advantage of the service, including some who are learning to play an instrument simultaneously with one of their children, as well as other adult learning, along with a senior-aged parent.

Its group music lessons start at $7, and $26.50 for a 30-minute private lesson, although Hopelight offers students who can’t afford to pay the full amount for a private lesson the chance to reduce their cost by mentoring others in the organization’s programs.

Crescendo has 200 students in its programs right now, and as Newburn sees it, music can be medicine for many of them.

“Because there are so many needs in the community, you think about how does everything interact, how does everything connect? The more angles we can help an individual or their family from, the better off everybody is, the stronger the family gets,” Newburn said.

“I think that leads to a stronger community in general. It has a ripple effect.”

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com and twitter.com/samlounz .

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