MEEKER | In what could certainly be called “a meeting of the minds,” representatives of several organizations, all “partners” with the Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership (NCCHP), met at the VFW post on Aug. 29 to collaborate on how best to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, has access to programs and services that will help them thrive.
NCCHP’s mission is to develop a regional network of care for Northwest Colorado that coordinates all the agencies involved. This region is comprised of Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties, with NCCHP’s headquarter in Steamboat Springs.
More specifically, NCCHP is “a backbone agency,” Executive Director Ken Davis stated via email, “convening and coordinating meetings and educational events, writing grants for shared funding in the region, communicating between agencies and sectors and specifically helping strengthen the clinical and community linkages.”
NCCHP’s “funding is a combination of state department grants, state foundations, local foundations [and] from [Rocky Mountain Health Plans] for regional care coordination and partnership dues,” Davis added.
After a welcome and introduction by Marci Mattox, NCCHP’s Navigation Network Coordinator—also present were John Hendrikse and Kristyn Leary—Christie Higgins reviewed Colorado’s 2-1-1 telephone service, a free, confidential service that refers callers to non-emergency health and human services.
The main purpose of the meeting was the Agency Fair, where each organization had the opportunity to make a brief presentation of its purpose and services.
Mind Springs Health, the western slope’s mental health and addiction care experts, was represented by Brenda Culler. They believe their mission to be a vital one since statistics indicate that the western slope and mountain towns see above average suicide and addiction rates.
Ken Culler, Senior Vice Commander of Meeker VFW post 5843, shared what it continues to offer our entire community, not just veterans. A major concern he shared, however, was veteran-related, that of those who suffer from PTSD.
Representing Pioneers Medical Center was Alice Harvey, whose title of patient advocate is a broad one encompassing patient management, care coordination and social services. Their big goal is to connect the clinic, hospital, long term care, home health and all other organizations so they can all work together.
In connection with that, director of home care, Betty Lou Moyer, spoke for Pioneers Hospital Home Health, which provides in-home health and support services for the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill and their families. They also install personal emergency response systems—a waterproof device worn around the neck or wrist that summons emergency assistance at the press of a button—and medication alarm boxes, which reminds and dispenses medication in accordance with prescribed drug regimens. They also work with HopeWest.
Barbara Bofinger spoke for Rio Blanco Department of Human Services, which is concerned with the prevention of child abuse and neglect, as well as providing services such as Colorado Works, the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
ERBM Recreation and Park District director, Sean VonRoenn, had a single emphasis he was eager to share: their reduced rate programs to generate more interest. One such program consists of scholarships for those who have a financial or other need. Their desire is to get the word out for this so people can make referrals of those in such need. They also want to work closely with other service providers in this capacity.
Pastor David Petty of Meeker United Methodist Church was concerned about helping whoever has need, referring to Matthew 25:35–40, which records Jesus’ words that when we do something for other people we are in reality doing it for Him. Pastor Petty also views himself as a “triage nurse,” who can help get people in touch with others who can provide further help.
Emily Hoskins represented the Colorado Energy Office, whose energy program provides free energy efficiency services to income-qualified residents. Improvements such as installing insulation, furnace repair or replacement, refrigerator replacement, energy conservation education and other improvements save enormous amounts of money in energy usage and improve a home’s safety, comfort and value.
Dehlia Dodd, agency manager of Western Slope In-Home Care, shared their passion for providing both personal and non-personal needs and is licensed by the Colorado Department of Health. Personal needs include feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, mobility and more, while non-personal needs include, among others, laundry, shopping, errands, meal preparation and, in a sense best of all, joyful companionship.
Finally, Staci Nichols is one of several coordinators for the Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, which is committed to empowering people of all ages no matter what their disability. As Nichols stated, their purpose is to “work with people not for them” to make them independent. More than 51 percent of their staff and board, in fact, is composed of people with permanent disabilities. Nichols herself, being deaf, is a dramatic example. It was a delight to “listen” to her presentation via her interpreter. Some of their services include, among others: advocacy, peer support, group activities, referral services and support in developing independent living skills.
As the meeting closed, all present agreed that it was of great value. Of far greater value are the programs and services these organizations provide for our community.
By Doc Watson | Special to the Herald Times