The experts informing Health is Local are some of Colorado’s top health care leaders, and their work is known around the state. Learn more about who they are and what their perspective is on the issues:
As Senior Billing Coordinator for Montrose primary care physician Dr. Miller’s private practice, Tina Baize holds a great sense of the business changes that the practice has undergone in the last few years as a result of the environment shifts. After years of experience, Tina speaks to the importance of physician and patient engagement in truly making personal, and therefore systemic, change.
Montrose has a really varied base of educated people here, that are educated on health care, that are interested in it, that do have good opinions about it. Most of these people are willing to share those opinions, but also not force opinions. I think that there are probably also people out there that are hoping that this is going to fail miserably and won’t affect them.
Lynn Borup is the Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Network, a coalition of health care providers in southwest Colorado, specifically covering Ouray, Montrose, and San Miguel Counties. Long familiar with the collective impact approach, Lynn values community connections as a significant part of her work, and has strong relationships with community members who work in schools and libraries.
Montrose is a unique community that is a classically rural-frontier underserved area. Over the years, it became so critical for us to collaborate and compile our limited resources so we can maximize our effort in taking care of Montrose’s residents. With proper planning, integration of delivery systems, and coordination of services, we can achieve so much more.
Don Colcord is the owner and sole pharmacist at Nucla Apothecary Shoppe. Born and raised in Nucla, Don has worked and owned his Apothecary for over 30 years. He is now the only pharmacist in town, and is intimately engaged in the community’s health needs as a long time resident and health system leader. Don works in partnership with the majority of leaders in the health system and beyond, giving him an informed perspective on the impacts of health reform.
The community conversation is everyone hates Obamacare…but the actual impact is there are a lot of people now who are covered by insurance who were never covered before. And in my perspective as a druggist, that is an tremendous thing. I am seeing people now get health services that were never getting health services.
Debby Harrison-Zarkis is the CEO of the Olathe Community Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Olathe, Colorado. The clinic aims to serve people of all incomes with quality primary health care services, including preventive and mental health services. Her staff reaches various populations, including seasonal farmworkers, and provide diabetes education and health promotion. The clinic staff’s ability to provide culturally competent services that meet their patient’s needs is a vital community asset in Montrose County.
We’re all coming together and talking about how the changes are affecting us, and how can we make sure we serve our communities. It’s very hard to predict how health reform is going to change things, but I think the important part is that those conversations are taking place, and I really commend our community for having those conversations.
Susan Rice, Library Coordinator at the Naturita Community Library, is a dedicated member of the Naturita community. The award-winning library is a hub for community events and programs for residents, keeping Rice in constant contact with the interests and needs of the town. Through her leadership on the Board of Directors for the local Uncompahgre Medical Center, local residency for over 30 years, and her community work at the Library, Susan knows the West End health system like the back of her hand.
Many people are working paycheck to paycheck and they thought that health reform was going to be a huge burden on them. Now a few people that I’ve talked to have found out that they’re qualified for Medicaid and that has been a relief. They couldn’t figure out what were they going to do – were they going to eat or were they going to buy their health insurance?
Kathryn Steele, Quality Improvement Specialist, for the Colorado Rural Health Center is a dedicated member of the Montrose community. Her close relationships with health care providers in the Montrose area as well as her commitment to the community make her an eloquent advocate for a healthier Montrose. She leads with an ability to see the bigger picture of the county’s system, while understanding the deep intricacies of the work involved in technical systems change and keeping her finger on the pulse of the surrounding counties’ changes.
I’m still hearing that people don’t think that this is going to work. That’s the bottom line. I hear that more than anything: I don’t think it is going to work.