"SHSI Certificate of Recognition"
"Best on the Web"

Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
Jump to navigationJump to search

CRESCENT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. Crescent Community Health Center is a federally funded community health center offering medical and dental care for uninsured and under-insured tri-state residents. Efforts in Dubuque to establish a federally funded community health center failed for many years because of rejected grant applications. It started as a free medial clinic at the DUBUQUE RESCUE MISSION with doctors and providers donating supplies. (1)

Sister Helen HUEWE scheduled a meeting soon after she retired in 1997 to reverse the history of the proposal. Working with community leaders and using her experience in health care, Huewe managed to gain the support of Dubuque's existing health care providers. Application for federal community health center grants were denied in 2003 and 2004, but the facility located at 1789 Elm opened in fall of 2006 and relied on state funds as part of an incubator program to attract federal designation. (2) The Extended Schmid Family of CRESCENT ELECTRIC SUPPLY COMPANY--created an approximately $1.3 million endowment for the center in 2006, the year the center was opened. (3) In 2006 a federal health center grant was again denied, but the desired federal designation and funding arrived in August 2007.

In 2010 Crescent served 6,001 patients at its location at 1789 Elm St., the former site of the DUBUQUE CASKET COMPANY. In 2009 it served 4,009 patients. In its first ten years of operation, the center provided medical and dental care to more than 80,000 people. (4)

In addition to its main building, a wellness center is located at 1805 Central Avenue. A satellite dental clinic was scheduled to be opened in 2016 on the STONEHILL FRANCISCAN SERVICES campus. Employment increased from 23 employees in 2008 to 61 in 2016. (5)

The failure of Congress to extend funding for nonprofit community health centers for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2017 placed the future of the center in jeopardy. The funding allowed centers to increase access to comprehensive primary care, dental, and medical care for under-served populations. In 2016 Crescent served over 6,200 patients including more than 1,600 children and nearly 200 veterans. The $1.5 million cut in its $6 million budget came from federal grants. The Center reacted by cutting staff hours and starting a hiring freeze for nonclinical positions. (6)

In February, 2018 Crescent Community Health Center benefited from a Congressional budget deal that reinstated more than $7 billion to the nation's federally funded community health centers. The agreement extended funding for another two years. An estimated $1.5 million of Crescent's $6 million budget came from grants from the federal Federal Health Center Program. In 2018 Crescent was the only community health care in the tri-state area receiving these funds. (7)

Crescent Community Health Center was awarded $175,000 to expand treatment of substance abuse disorders and mental health issues. The announcement in September, 2018 noted that the funding was received through the U. S. Heath Resources and Services Administration. (8)

On November 24, 2019 Crescent's new location at 1690 Elm across the street from its former home was opened to the public. The move allowed many health offerings to be centralized and the building, the former Lamarr Advertising Building, was able to accommodate expanded and new services. All of this was accomplished while remaining in the same area where more than 65% of its patients were 100% of below the federal poverty level. Officials expected that the facility would serve over 8,000 patients annually by 2021. (9)

The building was purchased in 2017 by developer Metx LLC which promised to invest a minimum of $9 million to renovate the structure for Crescent, on the third and fourth floors, and other tenants. Crescent was the first tenant with Infocus Pharmacy Services and Beaker's Coffee Shop to open soon. The owners promised to find customers compatible with Crescent's overall mission. Among the new additions was a training kitchen to allow staff to host classes in food preparation with improved nutrition and seventeen dental suites. Dental visits in 2021 were expected to exceed medical appointments because of the sliding-fee scale. (10)

In September, 2021 as Crescent marked fifteen years providing health care it had become a 'one-stop shop for medical, dental, and mental health care and related services. The health center that opened in 2006 with only a 16-person staff had become an employer of 120 people on four floors of its renovated building at 1690 Elm Street. (11)



1. Fisher, Benjamin, "Crescent Marks 15 Years of Filling Health Care Void," Telegraph Herald, September 23, 2021, p. 1A

2. Montgomery, Jeff. "Crescent Health Center Turns 10," Telegraph Herald, Telegraph Herald, p. 1A

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Montgomery, Jeff. "Crescent's Financial Health is on Life Support," Telegraph Herald, October 30, 2017, p. 1A

7. Barton, Thomas J. "Health Center Avoids Financial Cliff," Telegraph Herald, February 13, 2018, p. 1

9. "Dubuque Health Center Awarded $175,000 to Expand Treatment for Addiction, Mental Health," Telegraph Herald, September 20, 2018, p. 3A

9. Jacobson, Ben, "Crescent Completes Move to New 'Holistic' Campus," Telegraph Herald, November 25, 2019, p. 1A

10. Ibid.

11. Fisher