Peak Vista opens larger Fountain Health Clinic

Filed under: Health Care |

Peak Vista reopened its Fountain Health Clinic, located in the Lorraine Center, after renovating the facility to expand services.

A federal grant from Department of Health and Human Services allowed Peak Vista to include medical and dental care, expanding coverage for low-income uninsured Fountain residents.

Dr. Dale Spencer is the director of the clinic, which has been working with city officials to provide more outpatient care.

“This is wonderful news for the citizens of Fountain,” said former mayor Ken Barela, who was involved in the original needs assessment that led to increased funding for the clinic. “Peak Vista continues to be an outstanding partner and Fountain looks forward to working with their staff on behalf of our residents.”

Nationwide, Health and Human Services grants assist an estimated 632,000 Americans in obtaining primary health care services. The grant continues the federal government’s five-year initiative to help communities create or expand access to primary health care services.

Launched in 2002, the initiative will add 1,200 new and expanded health center sites and increase the number of people served annually from about 10 million to 16 million this year. HHS has helped pay for more than 700 new or expanded health centers.

Community health centers deliver preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Almost 40 percent of the patients treated at health centers have no insurance coverage or inadequate coverage. Charges for services are set according to income.

Kaiser reports revenue

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado reported to the Colorado Division of Insurance net income of $5.8 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in 2005.

The financial results allowed the company to continue investing in improved care delivery, said company officials.

“Meeting that growth meant investing in health care delivery,” said Donna Lynne, Kaiser Permanente regional president. “While opening offices in convenient locations, we also continued to update equipment and expand our electronic medical record.”

Seventy percent of the growth comes from the variety of insurance products now being offered. The suite of health insurance products, including point-of-service, preferred provider organization, and high deductible health plans with health saving accounts, aims to address the needs of employers and purchasers faced with the rising cost of health care.

“The majority of our membership growth is coming from these new products as purchasers seek ways to offset the rising cost of health care,” Lynne said. “These products offer more cost-sharing options and more flexibility in the kind of coverage people can choose.”

Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit health plan and the largest private health care provider in Colorado. More than 461,000 members receive care in the Denver/Boulder and Colorado Springs areas.

Diabetes’ cardiovascular risk

Women with diabetes are five times more at risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to women without diabetes, say education specialists at the Colorado Department of Public health and Environment.

More than 50,000 Colorado women have diabetes, putting them at a higher risk of death from a heart attack or stroke than their male counterparts.

“Many individuals with diabetes don’t consider heart disease to be a serious complication of diabetes,” said Michelle Hansen, health systems coordinator with the department’s diabetes prevention and control program. “However, individuals with diabetes are at a very high risk, especially women, for heart attack and stroke. Controlling diabetes requires good management of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.”

Hansen recommends that diabetic patients keep close watch on their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Exercise, losing weight and reducing salt intake are also recommended.

Electronic health initiative

The drive for safer, more effective health care through electronic information exchange is gaining traction along the full policy and health care spectrum, from Bush administration leaders to practicing physicians.

In April, top names in health care will headline eHealth Initiative’s Third Annual Connecting Communities Learning Forum in Washington, D.C. The Connecting Communities Program, conducted by the eHealth Initiative Foundation, provides seed funding and technical support to groups that are using electronic health information exchange and other information technology tools to drive improvements in health care quality, safety and efficiency.

“Our research shows that communities are moving from talk to action, but they need assistance overcoming common financial challenges such as start-up funding and sustainability, and on technical issues such as linking patient data,” said Janet Marchibroda, chief executive officer of the eHealth Initiative and its Foundation (eHI). “eHI convenes the Learning Forum to provide valuable educational resources from both national experts and trailblazers who are on the ground putting these principles into practice.”

The eHealth Initiative and its foundation are independent, nonprofit affiliated organizations that promote new technologies in health care through information and information technology.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for The Colorado Springs Business Journal.