CEO Update: We’ll see you soon!
This month, we experienced the solar eclipse and our team at CRHC had a small viewing party. Even though we had 93% coverage here in Colorado, I was really surprised at how much sunlight poured through. In case you hadn’t heard, a solar eclipse is nothing more than the moon passing between the sun and the earth, casting a large shadow over the earth. Similar to the solar eclipse, rural health has been a bit in the shadow despite the large amount of advocacy efforts at the state and federal level. However, just as the eclipse had its time and the shadow lifted with the return of sunlight, this year rural healthcare has gained much needed attention.
As you know, Colorado is a rural state with 47 of the 64 counties identified as rural and of those 47 rural counties, 23 are frontier or have a population density of six or fewer residents per square mile. That means that 73% of Colorado is considered rural which equates to approximately 718,000 rural residents. What people tend to forget is that CAHs and RHCs were established to provide access to care in rural communities. Rural Colorado has older, sicker, and poorer patients. CAHs and RHCs do not have the patient population to provide care without cost-based reimbursement. In Colorado’s rural counties, 30% – 60% are on Medicaid and Medicare and some facilities see upwards of 70% Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Despite the challenges, CAHs in Colorado that are participating in the CRHC iCARE Program, funded by HRSA (FLEX Grant) have reduced readmissions from 5% in 2011 to 2% currently. A large part of this success is because CAHs and their provider based rural clinics are working together and with their communities to ensure appropriate access to care is provided.
CRHC will be celebrating Safety Net Clinic Week, September 11 – 15, and we will be hosting a Rural Clinic Community Showcase. The Showcase is a video tour of rural clinics that will be broadcast from our office in Aurora. This annual event offers the opportunity to look into the unique challenges facing healthcare in rural Colorado and a special glimpse into rural life. Please Join us on Tuesday, September 12th from 2:00 – 3:30 for this event – you can RSVP to Kelly Erb at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.
CRHC is excited to be hosting our 26th Annual Rural Health Conference, October 19 – 20 in Colorado Springs. This year our keynote speaker, Tricia Downing, will be kicking off the conference by speaking on ‘Discovering Your Inner Champion’. Tricia will share her experiences of being a competitive cyclist and her transition to a paraplegic requiring a wheelchair for mobility. She shares “how mental toughness has helped her overcome obstacles and adversity in order to achieve her goals.” Tricia’s inspiring message will reinvigorate you and help you remember why you went into healthcare.
At this year’s conference, CRHC is offering a day and a half filled with topics to help you through day-to-day issues, engage in what is currently relevant and discuss future trends. Topics include: mental health and substance use issues in rural Colorado, 340B Program, Data Innovations, Workforce, Quality, Health Information Technology, Telehealth, Financing for Capital Improvements and Equipment. We’ll end the conference on a high note with a drama performed by the Kaiser Permanente Theater Group titled Loose Change: A theatrical presentation sharing real-life stories of people living with limited financial resources and the challenges they face in health care settings.
We look forward to seeing you!
CRHC Member Registration – $350Register Now!