James Kennedy: Future of health care in Grand County bright
December 12, 2011
To the Editor:
Ms. Muftic makes many valid points in her article on the cost of health care. There is no question that it is more difficult for everyone as the cost of care increases. Here in Grand County, the Grand County Rural Health Network has been working with the Grand County Health Professionals Society to create an integrated health care network based on the Medical Home concept. We are confident that everyone in Grand County can find a Medical Home
A Medical Home is a medical office where patients receive personalized, individualized care that is patient-centered, timely, efficient, safe, and self-directed. In short, the care that you need, when you need it. A medial home can provide at least 90 percent of the care most patients need, and is responsible for coordinating the rest in a timely and patient-centered manner. Having a relationship with a personal physician is the only thing that has been shown to improve the health of individuals and communities. These studies show that this is more important than any random blood work, or tests done without context. Having someone who knows you, and your history, saves money, testing, referrals and actually improves outcomes.
For two years we have worked to have all providers designated as medical homes, and to work together. We encourage everyone in Grand County to find a medical home in one of the outstanding practices in our county.
Beyond creating medical homes, we are seeking grant money to develop a “medical neighborhood’ where there is realtime information sharing, connections via telemedicine with specialists in other cities, and to bring the necessary and best quality sub-specialty care to our population. Keeping health care dollars in the county, and bringing only the best to the county will result in lower costs and better outcomes. This is something we can build on as our health care needs expand.
Several of our initiatives to date are well known. The ACHES and PAINS vouchers provide urgent care payments, at little cost, at any practice in the county. We have established a Medical Navigator to assist anyone having any access issues or finding primary or specialty care. This includes simple information, mediation, transportation, or coordination. The Grand County Rurual Health Network has partnered with the the child daycare providers to create the only network that screens 100 percent of our children for child development issues in the nation. Providers in the county have agreed to also accept reduced fee for service for those without insurance and those who do not qualify for vouchers.
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I believe that the future of health care in Grand County is bright. The Rural Health Network, Grand County Health Professionals Society, Middle Park Medical, Denver Health, and Public Health have submitted a grant which could bring funds to support an expanded network, “low cost clinic without walls,” and other innovations that will make access for everyone easier and more affordable while maintaining quality. Please join us by finding a medical home for you and your family right here in Grand County.