When Brent Combs first started visiting the Chanda Plan Foundation in 2013, it was to receive massage and acupuncture to help him with his pain.
But it wasn’t long before he found a new community to grow with there.
“At the Chanda Plan, …
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Chanda Center for Health
1630 Carr St., Lakewood
Integrative Therapies: massage, acupuncture, yoga and chiropractic care.
Counseling Services: Behavioral health provider on site.
Care Coordination: Care Coordinator meets with all participants to help navigate complex institutions, enroll in programs, and access resources to enable individuals to regain independence in the community.
Community Building: The center acts as a community center to connect participants. Training and Education: The Chanda Plan Foundation is developing a curriculum to educate health care professionals.
“At the Chanda Plan, they focus on the disabled community, but our disabilities aren’t the only thing they focus on,” he said. “What they really do is find out how to make our lives better.”
That mission will reach more people than ever with the new Chanda Center for Health, 1630 Carr St., which celebrated its official opening on July 22 with tours, music and more than a little excitement.
“This is a chance for us to celebrate with the community, and share all the services we’re now able to have under one roof,” said Chanda Hinton Leichtle, founder and executive director of the organization. “I’m so excited for our current participants to see what we can do for them now, and for all the new people to meet us.”
Established in 2005 by Leichtle and her sister, Crystal Hinton, after Leichtle experienced significant health improvements due to integrative therapies, the Chanda Plan works to bring an integrative and holistic approach to health care for people with long-term physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida and brain injury.
For the first years of its existence, the Chanda Plan worked out of small offices that didn’t provide the accessibility or convenience so many of the organization’s participants required. It was also difficult for participants to find health care professionals who had the proper equipment and experience to treat those with long-term disabilities.
“At the end of 2013, we started identifying the needs of our clients that we couldn’t meet in the facility we had at the time,” said Maggie Cavanagh, the Plan’s director of operations. “We wanted to build a sense of community and a one-stop shop for those who need these kinds of services.”
The Chanda Center for Health was specifically designed with this clientele in mind, and features some of the latest technology and equipment, as well as a “person-centered” approach that examines all aspects of a person’s life. Services include care coordination, behavioral health services, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and adaptive yoga. The center will also soon offer primary care.
“It’s important for us to take away the stigma many people with disability face in their daily lives,” Cavanagh added. “This is a place where participants can speak to anyone without fear or embarrassment.”
Keeping these services affordable is a key tenant for the Plan. In 2009, it helped pass the Spinal Cord Injury Medicaid Waiver, which means Medicaid is now examining the results of acupuncture, massage and chiropractic services and the cost savings for persons with spinal cord injuries in Colorado, through 2020.
The Medicaid waivers allow patients to pay for acupuncture, massage and chiropractic care. Staff can work with those without Medicaid to keep the services affordable, Cavanagh said.
This innovative approach to both care and cost is drawing a lot of attention to Lakewood, which is one of the reasons Mayor Adam Paul was on hand to celebrate the opening.
“A few months ago, I had the chance to come and see the incredible work going on here,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Lakewood to have this kind of healing potential in the city.”
The new center has been a huge boon for people like Combs, who have seen a marked improvement in their lives because of the work the Plan does.
“It allows me to be more active, and engage in life more completely,” he said. “When you come here, you know you have all kinds of resources available to you. I really hope this becomes a model for other facilities like this.”
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