Salud: What’s in a Name? – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

“Cheers,” “Skål,” “Slainte,” “Cin Cin,” “Salud.”  Each of these phrases is traditionally accompanied by the celebratory clinking of glasses.

For many Estes Valley families, the word “Salud” has a deeper meaning: “Salud” is shorthand for their health care provider.

Prior to the arrival of Salud, local physicians volunteered their time to see uninsured community members.  These efforts proved inadequate to stem the flow of the sick seeking care in the emergency room, often the most expensive option for treating conditions better addressed in a primary care setting. As a result, hospital administrators and local health officials asked Salud Family Health Centers (Salud), a community health center based in Fort Lupton, to establish a medical clinic in Estes Park.

Salud Family Health Centers’ legal name is Plan de Salud del Valle, Inc. – “the health plan of the valley” referring to the Platte River Valley, located in and around Fort Lupton. This area was a rich, agricultural area in 1970, when Salud was founded to serve the health care needs of migrant and seasonal farm workers. Over time, Salud adopted “Salud Family Health Centers” and is most commonly known as “Salud”.

Salud has been an integral part of the Estes community for over 25 years.  Since 1992, from its first clinic with a single exam room, to its current state-of-the-art, 11,000-square-foot clinic on Dry Gulch Road, Salud has provided quality, affordable health care to those in our community who can least afford it: working families and small business owners.  One indicator of the level of economic distress within our community is the 27 percent of local students who qualify for the “free or reduced lunch” program.

Today it is commonly understood that access to primary health care is essential to prevent small or unseen medical problems from escalating into more complicated and dangerous health conditions that so often incur crushing expenses.

Perhaps less appreciated is the role Salud plays in the economic wellbeing of the entire Estes Valley. Salud supports the backbone of our community’s economy: families who work for hotels, restaurants, retail stores, cleaning services, as well as owners of small businesses.

Most small businesses are not able to provide health insurance for their year-round employees let alone the many part-time summer workers who help feed and house the millions of summer visitors.  Salud provides these workers access to affordable primary medical care based on a sliding fee scale tied to family size and income. This access helps businesses maintain a healthy workforce. And good health is critical to working families who can ill-afford a smaller paycheck due to missed days at work.

By reducing health care costs, Salud contributes to the financial stability of Estes families so they can better pay for housing, childcare and groceries.

Finally, Salud contributes directly to the local economy by providing year-round, benefited employment for its employees whose families live and work in the community.

“We can be proud that health care in the Estes community is not just a privilege, accessible only to those fortunate enough to afford it,” said Doug Frisbie, Estes Park Salud Foundation president. “Salud patients have equal access to high quality, primary care irrespective of their insurance status or income. No one is denied health care due to an inability to pay”, emphasized Marianne Dungan, Center Manager.


The Estes Park Salud Family Health Center is located at 1950 Redtail Hawk Drive. To schedule an appointment, call 970-484-0999 or 303-MYSALUD (697-2583).  The website address is

At Salud Family Health Centers, we provide quality, affordable primary health care services to keep you and your family healthy.  We serve all members of the community regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Salud accepts Medicaid, Medicare, CHP+, and most private insurance plans.

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