Community Briefs
by Watch Staff
Oct 15, 2010 | 1445 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tri-County Health Network Receives $491,320 to Improve, Integrate Healthcare Providers in the Region

TELLURIDE – Grants totaling $491,320 have been awarded to the Tri-County Health Network (comprised of Montrose Memorial Hospital, the Basin Clinic, Uncompahgre Medical Center, Telluride Medical Center, Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Center, and the Local Healthcare Initiative) to facilitate TCHN’s bid to move toward standalone nonprofit status, facilitating the network’s refining of its operating budget, hiring of staff, implementation of programs and establishment of measurable time-limited goals.

Created in 2009 by the Telluride Foundation, TCHN exists to improve health throughout the region with increased access to lower-cost healthcare and integrative health services.  To that end, organizers have spent the last year planning and developing strategies to address regional health care issues, with an eye to becoming a leader in reshaping rural health and health care across the county.  “Collaboration is the future of health care delivery, especially in rural areas,” said Steve Siegel, executive director of the Norwood Uncompahgre Medical Center. “UMC is looking forward to sharing resources and leveraging organizational strengths to maximize the health of our region.”

TCHN members plan to address the limited human and financial resources, and to avoid a duplication of efforts and services within Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. Members are in discussion with Quality Health Network, a secured system designed to share patient clinical information between Western Slope providers highlighted in a June 2009 The New Yorker magazine article.

The tri-county area is an officially designated “Health Professional Shortage Area.” All network members are nonprofit organizations with unique designations; three of the participating clinics are classified as “Frontier Clinics,” serving remote Western Slope rural populations with no alternative health care services within a 100 mile radius and a population density of four persons per square mile. The Uncompahgre Clinic is classified as a “Federally Qualified Health Center,” and Colorado and Telluride state healthcare experts refer to the Basin Medical Clinic as “the most rural medical clinic” in the state. Previous to the creation of TCHN, network members did not have a collaborative working relationship, so that numerous gaps in coverage and scope of services existed.  Network members will work to develop an integrated delivery structure, coordinate care utilizing existing services and expand services to address unmet needs.

Bright Futures Receives Colorado Trust Grant

DENVER – The Colorado Trust awarded $250,000 in grants last month aimed at strengthening the work of nonprofit organizations and groups working across Colorado to improve health care for children, including the Telluride-based Bright Futures for Early Childhood.

Bright Futures was awarded $25,000 for health integration work in San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose and Delta counties.

“This is amazing for us,” said Jill Burchmore, Bright Futures program manager.

The Colorado Trust is a private foundation committed to expanding health coverage and improving the provision of health care for all Coloradans. They made the grants in honor of their 25th anniversary.

“I am pleased to kick-off the second quarter century of investing in the health of our state,” said Ned Calonge, MD, the new president and CEO of The Colorado Trust. “One of the top priorities within The Colorado Trust’s commitment to achieve access to health for all Coloradans is seeing that every child in our state has a real opportunity to grow up healthy. This is particularly important given the high rate of children living in poverty, and our state’s challenging fiscal situation.”

The nonprofit organizations and collaboratives were nominated by local community foundations and United Way agencies across the state. Each of the 10 selected groups listed received a one-year, $25,000 general operating grant from The Colorado Trust to continue their collaborative efforts to ensure the provision of health coverage and care to children.

Bright Futures for Early Childhood, serving Delta, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties, works with regional health care providers, as well as county social services and health departments, the regional Local Health Initiative, school districts and school-based health programs, to coordinate and provide primary, mental and dental health care to children and to increase immunizations and health insurance enrollment.

Other grant recipients included All Kids Covered 2010, Colorado Medical Home Initiative, Denver Health-South High School-based Health Center, Eagle Care Medical Clinic, Family Medicine Center (Poudre Valley), Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Pueblo City-County Health Department, Southwest Open School’s School-based Health Center, and Summit Community Care Clinic.

More information on The Colorado Trust is available on their website, Bright Futures can be reached at 728-5613 or

Early Voting Kicks Off Oct. 18

TELLURIDE – For those hoping to cast their ballots prior to Election Day (Nov. 2), the option of voting early will be available to San Miguel County electors at 335 Colorado Avenue (next to the San Miguel County Human Resource Department at Aspen and Colorado) in Telluride.

Early Voting kicks off Monday, Oct. 18, and continues through Friday, Oct. 22. It will resume on Oct. 25 and continue until 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29.

Do you prefer to cast your ballot in person on Election Day? San Miguel County will have five polling locations open on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Election Day polling places include Rebekah Hall for Precinct I voters; Wilkinson Public Library for Precinct II voters; the Placerville Fire Department, (second floor) for Precinct III voters; Norwood Community Center for voters in Precincts IV and V; and The Town of Mountain Village Town hall (second floor) for Precinct VI.

Caregiver Solutions to Offer Family Caregiver Support

MONTROSE – As daughter and long-distance caregiver for her 88-year-old mother, Barbara Bennigsdorf has a personal interest in supporting others who find themselves in the role of care provider to a senior family member.

Bennigsdorf, who owns and operates Caregiver Solutions, contracts with the Region 10 Area Agency on Aging to provide family caregiver support services which lend a helping hand to local family care providers.

“We are here to be a resource for you,” she said. “Caregiver Solutions will come in, help identify the support that is needed, and set up an individualized care plan for every eligible caregiver.

“This is my third year with the Family Caregiver Support Program,” she said. “I am very passionate about assisting both the caregiver and the older adult who is receiving the care. I love my job!”

The program is available to residents of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. Caregivers must be age 18 or over, and responsible for the care of an adult age 60 or over.

Caregiver Solutions provides access to a variety of support services to meet caregiver needs, and provides ongoing counseling services for those enrolled in the program. There is no charge to caregivers, although donations are both welcome and appreciated.

For additional information on the Caregiver Solutions Family Caregiver Support Program contact Barbara Bennigsdorf at 970/249-0440.

The Family Caregiver Support Program receives significant funding through the Region 10 Area Agency on Aging (AAA). AAA is dedicated to developing a network of services for adults age 60 and over to assist them in maintaining their independence within their communities, and can be reached at 970/249-2436.
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