Update from the CEO: Engagement in 2012

As the year starts to come to a close and I think of the accomplishments of the Colorado Rural Health Center team, I know these accomplishments would not have been possible without the engagement of our members, sponsors and partners. This year CRHC tracked over fifteen bills and was successful in the passage of our first piece of major legislation, House Bill 1052 concerning the collection of health care workforce data from healthcare professionals. Thank you to our Policy and Legislative Committee for lending us your time and expertise. We are looking forward to the 2013 session and encourage you to continue to share your voice. As you think about sharing your voice, many communities engaged in Community Health Needs Assessments through our STRIDES Program. These communities took engagement and collaboration to a new level with Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and public health participation. As new partnerships are formed CRHC encourages you to continue to reach out to your community members and together you can continue to innovate and accomplish great things. As Dan Heath says, “Identify the bright spots and grow them!” One bright spot that should be pointed out is CRHC staff placed thirteen providers in safety net communities in Colorado. With the workforce shortages that Colorado is facing we are proud of these placements and the ability to contribute to the healthcare of the community. Rural communities have always had a strong sense of connection and collaboration. This collaboration can be seen through the participation of fourteen Critical Access Hospitals and six Rural Health Clinics in CRHC’s Improving Communications and Readmissions (iCARE) Program. In 2012, the participating hospitals readmission rate was only 2.8%. Some of the innovative interventions that were put into place are standing orders for pneumonia vaccinations, collaboration with social workers to follow-up with patients discharged to ensure understanding of medications and instructions, scheduling of appointments with the Primary Care Office, and home visits conducted by the Director of Nursing for patients that do not have an identified primary care physician. Finally, rural hospitals and clinics have been heavily engaged in implementing electronic medical records and remain committed. To date, 18 rural hospitals and 18 rural clinics have attested to stage 1 meaningful use. Congrats to all! I wish everyone Happy Holidays and CRHC staff look forward to working with each of you in the new year to identify your Bright Spots!

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