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MEEKER — Pioneers Medical Center received a donation of a portable water purification system Oct. 23 that will be used if the hospital isn’t able to safely use the town’s water system.
The Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) is providing 73 acute care hospitals throughout rural and urban Colorado with portable water purification units to augment emergency preparedness programs and procedures.
According to Lou Ann Wilroy, executive director of the nonprofit CRHC, the units will be hand-delivered by CRHC personnel as they travel around the state for on-site visits.
“In light of the recent water contamination problems in Alamosa, this has particular relevance in our state today,” explained Wilroy.
In March 2008, Alamosa, Colo., officials shut down the town’s water system as water-born salmonella and associated illnesses continued to spread. This emergency also impacted the local hospital, which had to rely on bottled water to continue to provide patient care. Having safe drinking water is a key component in emergency preparedness plans. These portable purification units — manufactured by Noah Water Systems — will help enhance a hospital’s capacity to provide an emergency water supply for patients and staff, without increasing the amount of water a hospital needs to store.
“The unfortunate incident in Alamosa brought to light the need for hospitals to have alternative water sources. We were able to cover the cost of these portable units through our unrestricted funding reserves,” said Wilroy. “We know how valuable this will be to Colorado hospitals for emergency preparedness purposes, and are pleased to be able to give back to our constituents in this way.”
Founded 17 years ago with one employee, the Colorado Rural Health Center currently has 15 full-time employees and recently relocated to expanded offices in Aurora.
CRHC, which serves as Colorado’s State Office of Rural Health, works with rural and urban health facilities on emergency preparedness activities in various capacities by participating in programs such as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment‚“ (CDPHE) Hospital Preparedness and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Programs. In fact, CRHC received the 2007 Emergency Response Partner of the Year award from CDPHE for its work with the emergency preparedness program. Ron Seedorf, certified EMT and native of rural Yuma, Colo., serves as CRHC’s Emergency Preparedness Manager and oversees these initiatives.
The Colorado Rural Health Center was established in 1991 as the first nonprofit State Office of Rural Health in the U.S. Although every state has an office of rural health, CRHC remains one of only three offices of rural health organized as a nonprofit. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, CRHC’s mission is “enhancing healthcare services in Colorado by providing information, education, linkages, tools and energy toward addressing rural healthcare issues.”
The Colorado Rural Health Center has a statewide constituency of more than 3,500 people and organizations.
For more information visit www.coruralhealth.org, call (303) 832-7493, or call toll free (800) 851-6782 from rural Colorado.