CEO Update: Reflection

CEO Update: Reflection

December, a time to celebrate with family and friends and a great month for reflection.  Each year, our family and friends get together for cookie day.   It’s a full day of sharing stories, laughing and of course, baking.  As 2017 draws to a close I find myself reflecting on what has been accomplished and what will be accomplished in the coming year.  For me personally, 2017 celebrated our daughter’s college graduation and her official entrance into the workforce.  For the Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) our 2017 list of accomplishments is impressive.


CRHC provided over 19,000 technical assistance encounters to rural communities and $3.9 million in free technical assistance and grants.  Two major conferences, the Forum and Annual Conference, provided education to nearly 400 individuals and over 100 webinars reached just shy of 1,000 individuals.

CRHC’s policy and advocacy efforts had a monumental impact in 2017 through partnership with organizations statewide to raise the rural voice with the passing of the Hospital Provider Fee bill. CRHC advocated for the passage of HB16-1142 Rural and Frontier Health Care Preceptor Tax Credit and directly engaged/provided resources to both Sen. Michael Bennett and Sen. Cory Gardner.  For 2017, CRHC supported, opposed, or monitored 21 pieces of legislation with a rural impact and produced advocacy videos for Safety Net Clinic Week

CRHCs iCARE (Improving Communications and Readmissions) program continued to focus on improving communications in transitions of care, improving the clinical process and systems to reduce readmissions, particularly for heart failure, pneumonia, and diabetes patients.  Twenty rural communities with fifty-five critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural  clinics  are engaged in this effective initiative.  The iCARE program helps CAHs and rural clinics with reporting requirements as well as the movement towards value. The readmission rate for CAHs participating is 2% (down from 3% last year) compared to 14% for those not participating and 19% for urban hospitals. Clinics increased the number of diabetic patients with good glucose control to 80%.

CRHC placed four providers in Colorado’s rural communities.  One rural physician’s employment creates approximately 26 additional jobs and nearly $1.4 million in income from the clinic and hospital in their community.

In 2018, we will continue to offer you programs, education and services that focus on quality, financial, operational and population health to help ensure rural sustainability.

One way CRHC is assisting with population health is through a report called the Top 3/Bottom 3.  CRHC created this report to assist rural communities’ movement on the social determinants of health and the facilities’ movement from volume to value.  Through the iCARE program, the team will incorporate elements of the Top 3/Bottom 3 reports along with clinical quality data to demonstrate population health impacts and tie this work to the community needs assessment.

CRHC will continue to provide you with tools, resources and support to combat  Colorado’s provider workforce shortage by offering a full menu of services designed to give you access to sourcing tools which Colorado Provider Recruitment (CPR) has utilized over the last thirteen years to place 180 providers in rural Colorado. The services will now include education and training to help you become successful in your own recruitment and retention efforts to avoid using costly third party search firms. More details about the restructure of the program will be coming to you soon!

CRHC’s partnership with CORHIO, QHN and Medicaid to connect rural hospitals and clinics with the health information exchange will also continue. In addition, our HIT staff will provide HIT education and services including remote monitoring, vacation relief, special projects, HIPAA Assessments and meaningful use assistance.

At the Colorado Rural Health Center, our commitment is to continue to provide support, education and services to ensure you have what you need to turn the power of rural  into making our rural communities sustainable and healthy.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff at the Colorado Rural Health Center we want to thank you for your partnership in 2017. And we wish each of you a wonderful, hopeful holiday season and look forward to our continued partnership in 2018!

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