Working to make Summit County a Better Place to Live for Ourselves and Future Generations
Dr. Don Parsons Introduces the Panel
Dennis Flint Discusses Heath Care in Summit County
How well does the ski industry support
health care? "
"We are very involved, locally," responds Laura Goode of Copper Mountain.
Sheriff Minor and State Representative Gary Lindstrom enjoy the discussion
How Healthy Are We?
January 12th 2006 - Frisco Recreation Center
The Moderator for the evening was Dr. Don Parsons
The Panelists included:
Paul Chodkowski, administrator at the new St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, Deborah Crook, director of Summit County Public Health,
Dennis Flint CEO of High Country Health Care and
Dr. Barbara Leffler, a licensed psychologist practicing in Frisco.
Dr. Barbara Leffler started off the evening talking about the state of mental health in Summit County. She cited a number of recent improvements including the creation of the Care Network that facilitates the ability for mental health professionals to collaborate with each other, the addition of a resident psychiatrist, Carolyn Sloan Burton, the operation of a detox treatment center, funding for health care for immigrant families, the addition of a full time bi-lingual therapist, and the creation of a local chapter of the Mental Health Association of Colorado
Dr. Leffler went on to identify gaps in mental health care locally. Decreases in mental health funding across the country has inhibited efforts in treating jail and indigent populations. In the future, she advocates a national focus on integrated care health care that treats emotional and mental health with the same emphasis as physical health.
Dennis Flint, the CEO of High Country Health Care, was the next to speak. A resident of Summit County since 1970, Dennis has seen significant success in the county with the growth and diversity of health care services culminating with the opening of the new hospital last December.
Significant challenges remain: an aging population and a growing population will put increased pressure on available services and facilities. The payer mix will change when more of the population depends on Medicare and Medicaid.
Rising costs for health insurance premiums will leave more people either underinsured or uninsured. Unknown pandemics, global warming and natural disasters could put additional pressures on the health care systems.
Paul Chodkowski, administrator for St Anthony Summit Medical Center, spoke proudly about the opening of a hospital that dramatically increases the diversity of services available to Summit County residents and visitors. With 22 beds in a 100,000 sq foot facility, the hospital is designed with the capability for expansion as population grows. Since opening in early December, the emergency room has seen a doubling of visits and the demand for CT services has tripled. A large number of cases once sent to Denver are now being treated locally. A medical office building, now under construction, will expand the hospital campus with increased outpatient care.
Deb Crook, director of public health for Summit County, talked about the assessment of health in the county. She cited improvements in health conditions and services since a previous assessment in 2000 including the expansion of health services and facilities, the establishment of a countywide smoking ban and the inclusion of environmental health as a partner with public health. Additional accomplishments include the establishment of a community health clinic and school-based clinics. Large issues remain including limited indigent care, the high rate of alcohol abuse and the lack of mental health services. Public health is also concerned with the preparations for a pandemic flu, and natural disasters.
Public health management emphasizes three tenets: assessment, assurance, and policy development.
Jeanne Ringelberg of the Summit Prevention Alliance reported on the efforts of SPA to promote health and positive youth development and prevent injury, substance abuse, and related risky behaviors.
An audience member asked about the ski industry’s participation in local health care issues. The panel agreed that Vail Resorts has been active in arranging health care insurance for their seasonal employees. Asked about the involvement of Intrawest, public affairs manager, Laura Goode, responded that their commitment included contributing to the Life Care helicopter hanger and organizing a fund raiser for Summit Public Health
Gini Bradley, a member of the Summit Foundation board of directors, stressed the need for mental health services for the large number of workers who come to the county for seasonal employment and recreation. Dr Carolyn Sloan Burton addressed the problems in finding adequate care for persons with mental health issue who have been arrested while Sheriff John Minor talked about the demands placed on the jail and detox center by these individuals.
Don Parsons then asked how then do we move forward?
Deb Edwards of the Summit Foundation explained how the foundation has been funding programs that address health needs in the county. The Foundation looks for ways to fund projects that are collaborative since there is not enough money to fund all individual projects.
Integration and collaboration from all aspects of health care community to form an effective total approach.
Jim Berg from the Community Care Clinic explained they see 3000 patients each month. Typically, patients are low-income uninsured people who live or work in the county. Those who do not qualify for clinic care may receive discount cards that are honored by various health care providers. The Family Intercultural resource Center also helps to identify families who qualify for the cards.
Shelly Mitchell, a representative of Bristlecone Health Services, a discount card provider, spoke about the continued demand for home care and hospice services. She indicated that the new hospital has increased the need for her services.
Comments and questions can be directed to:
Howard Hallman, PO Box 209, Frisco, CO 80443
970-468-9134 or email@example.com