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:
Tamara works as the Executive Director at the Family Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) in Summit County. FIRC serves Summit County residents through education and financial resources to support a strong and healthy community. Before her position at FIRC, Tamara worked for Vail Resorts, giving her a strong understanding of the resort oriented lifestyle so common within community. As an Enrollment Guide for Connect for Health Colorado, Tamara has seen first-hand the highs and lows of health reform impact in Summit County.
There is so much anger for those at about 400% [of the federal poverty level], but we still want to encourage those under 400% to try [to apply for coverage]. For lower income residents, it is a relief. They can get a subsidy and cost sharing reductions. It is good news for them.
Dick Carleton is Managing Partner of Storm Enterprises, Inc., which owns and operates Hearthstone Restaurant and Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant and Cantina in Breckenridge, Colorado. As a small business owner in the restaurant industry, Dick is exceedingly familiar with the seasonal worker and tourist population of Summit County. Additionally, Dick has an undeniable sense of the Summit County community pulse as a resident of Breckenridge for over 30 years. His perspective brings insight to the impacts of health reform on both small businesses and the community at-large.
I think we are making some progress. I’ve seen a handful of my employees get insurance who had never had it. They didn’t feel it was attainable, but they worked through it. So there’s some success, but we have to keep working at it. We have to work at the affordability. We have to work at streamlining and simplifying it. We have to continue to work on the websites and the tools. We just need to keep working.
Paul Chodkowski is the President and CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. Paul oversees the clinical care for a diverse patient population, including Summit County’s resident, tourist and seasonal populations. This management role gives Paul insight into the diverse components of Summit County’s health care system and the ever-changing needs of its residents and guests.
St. Anthony Summit Medical Center is committed to delivering exceptional health care services to Summit County residents and businesses – our history in the region spans more than 30 years. We are deeply committed to the populations we serve, responding to the ever-changing needs in care. Our goal is to improve the value of the services provided to our patients by improving outcomes, cost, and convenience.
Sarah Vaine is the Chief Executive Officer for the Summit Community Care Clinic, and has been since 2008. The Care Clinic provides care to anyone in the community, regardless of financial or other barriers they may face, which is right in line with Sarah’s personal passion for serving the uninsured and creating equal access to health care for individuals and families. Working with this patient population gives Sarah much insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the local health care system, and how it is working for the people it is meant to serve.
It is unclear how health care reform will play out over time, but there are certainly good things happening at the local level along with challenges that must be addressed. We’re just in the baby steps of these changes. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint, and there is a lot of possibility.