The 3rd annual Heart Beat Ball will be held at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 23 from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. This redesigned event features a new location, hearty new menu, and musical entertainment all evening including a fabulous dance band!
This dressy affair and fundraiser is hosted by the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation. All proceeds will benefit the new Women’s Health Program at Pagosa Springs Medical Center that is scheduled to open this summer.
Musical opener will be Tim Sullivan, award-winning singer/songwriter, on acoustic guitar. Then Bob Hemenger, prominent local saxophonist, will perform.
Dance band Vanilla Pop will take the stage at 8:00 p.m. for dancing and entertainment. “The coolest, hippest, most swingin-est band around,” was written in the Santa Fe Reporter. Vanilla Pop is an exciting and diverse performance oriented show, that can cover a variety of music from 40’s standards, disco hits, eighties classics, and TV themes. They have been chosen as one of the top bands in New Mexico for corporate events and weddings.
Local volunteer Tari Woods, also the event founder, and Tracey Kirschstein, owner of La Bella Boutique, have been working tirelessly on the silent auction. Over 30 businesses and organizations have provided merchandise that includes gift certificates, gift baskets, jewelry, airline voucher, artwork, and a 2-night stay at The Ecolux Hot Springs. There is something for everyone!!!
The Women’s Health Program is a new endeavor scheduled to be added to the services of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center. The program will include a digital mammography machine, specialists in breast surgery and reconstruction, specially renovated recovery and treatment space, and free screening services for low-income patients. Fundraising is underway for this initiative by the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation and more will be revealed at the Heart Beat Ball event.
Event Corporate Sponsors include Corazon Level: Subaru and Morehart Murphy; Ticker Level: The Payroll Department, Scott Strategic Investment and Bank of the San Juans; Cardio Level: Nunn Construction, J. Allen Baird, Quality Resort, The Springs Resort and Spa, and Bank of Colorado; and Clock Level: InsMed Insurance Agency, Durango Orthopedics, and First Southwest Bank.
Tickets are $25 each and are available online at drmaryfoundation.org, at any local bank, and at the door. Come join the fun and donate to a great cause!
Pagosa Springs Medical Center is offering “Healthy Holiday Meal Tips with Tess Challis” on November 13th at 6:30PM in the Pagosa Room at the medical center.
Quintessence “Tess” Challis is the author of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, a vegan cookbook and complete holistic health resource, and Radiance 4 Life: The 4 Cornerstones of Ultimate Vitality. She is a wellness coach, cooking class instructor, chef, speaker, and personal trainer. This informative and complimentary talk will include delicious appetizers prepared by Tess.
How they snagged the big one
Last year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would award up to $1 billion in Healthcare Innovation Grants to applicants with the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Awards ranged from $1 million to $30 million and cover a period of up to three years through annually renewable cooperative agreements.
The objective of this imitative is to encourage creative partnerships in order to identify and test new care delivery and payment models with the goal of addressing the unmet healthcare needs of underserved or low-income populations while reducing healthcare costs and hospitalizations. The caveat was that the projects had to be ready to deploy rapidly—within six months of the award.
Approximately 3,000 providers, payers, local government, public-private partnerships and multi-payer collaboratives from across the country applied.
The first of the awards were announced in May, followed by a second batch a month later. Of the 107 organizations awarded a Healthcare Innovation Grant, three included an EMS component. All three involved a version of the community paramedic, each with a slightly different focus based on the particular needs of their individual communities. They are: Prosser (Wash.) Public Hospital District, Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (Reno, Nevada), and Upper San Juan (Colorado) Heath Service District.
Upper San Juan (Colorado) Health Service District
Like Prosser, Upper San Juan had already begun an outreach program using community paramedics to provide an interface for primary care physicians. It serves a remote, rural region, of more than 3,400 residents living in medically underserved areas of southwestern Colorado.
“We’ve already been working hard to show that we are trying to change the traditional healthcare [model] where people get sick and come in to the hospital,” says Upper San Juan Health Service District CEO Bradley A. Cochennet. “This is an outgrowth of a desire to do more than just provide defensive medicine. The problem was that none of it was being reimbursed,” he says.
Cochennet also admits he had a ringer for the grant proposal. “One of our EMTs is a grant writer,” he says.
The centerpiece of the Health Service District is the three-year old Pagosa Springs Medical Center, the only hospital within 60 miles. The hospital is home to Pagosa Springs EMS, a four-ambulance ALS and BLS service that provides emergency medical response to Archuleta County and portions of Hinsdale and Mineral Counties.
For the past three years, the district has been documenting areas of improvement, including early detection of heart attacks and strokes. For practical reasons, the hospital has had to rely on technological advancements in telemedicine in order to more fully serve a remote population
The $1,724,581 grant will expand the current model that focuses on patients at-risk for heart attacks and strokes through cardiovascular early detection and wellness programs, remote diagnostics for cardiologist consultations and a telemedicine acute stroke care program. A portion of the grant will be used to upgrade and retrain its Emergency Medical Services Division in order to manage urgent care transports and in-home follow-up patient care.
To do that, they had to identify the obstacles to follow-up care and provide solutions. In southwestern Colorado, a huge hindrance was travel time and expense—a cost not normally considered in healthcare estimates since it is often borne by the patient. By going to the patient, community paramedics are able to provide early detection for both heart attacks and strokes.
“You are looking at a quantum leap in savings,” Cochennet says. He estimates that in six months, the savings in the cost of helicopter transports, the most common form of medical transport for acute patients, is $300,000. Overall, the District says this program will reduce health care costs by approximately $8.1 million during the three-year grant period.
“That’s just the money. What is the price of an extra year of life or a better quality of life?” he asks.
All three organizations report that, so far, working with CMS has been remarkably smooth. “Our experience with this grant has been very positive,” Cochennet says. Each grant winner is assigned a program officer to help with the process. So far, they have submitted their operations plans and expect to get underway with their projects as soon as they get the go-ahead from CMS. “I feel confident coming out of this that, with their help, we will be very successful,” Schreiner says.
The key to launching these programs goes beyond the immediate savings. A large part of the process is to create a program that can be duplicated anywhere in the U.S. By providing grant money, CMS hopes to spur innovative programs such as the ones proposed by REMSA, Prosser and Upper San Juan. “These will be tools people will want to use,” Cochennet says.