Local health care groups share in grant allocation

Filed under: Health Care |

Twenty grants, totaling nearly $4.5 million, have been awarded to health care organizations and health departments in Colorado to establish and expand programs for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

El Paso County Department of Health and Environment received $495,600 to fund a one-year project to add disease management guidelines for five chronic diseases — including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — to the existing HealthTrack database system.

Other grants that will benefit Colorado Springs and El Paso County include $362,849 for the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care. The grant will fund an evidence-based, continuous quality-improvement program at 34 hospitals throughout the state. “Get with the Guidelines” has a goal of reducing deaths and the risks of recurrent heart attacks and strokes in patients with coronary and other vascular diseases.

The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center’s department of family medicine will receive $225,379 to fund the development and implementation of a curriculum that focuses on prevention of cardiovascular disease beginning in the first year, and offer the Family Medicine Clinical Training Block and rural and care of ambulatory adult clinical training blocks in the third year.

The Family Medicine Clinical Training Block serves mainly rural and frontier communities and four of the sites are designated as part of the Hispanic Health Curriculum.

The grants are funded by revenue from Colorado’s tobacco tax and administered by the Department of Public Health and Environment’s Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Pulmonary Disease Program.

Owens signs health bills

From telemedicine reimbursement procedures to changes in nursing licenses, Gov. Bill Owens has signed six health care bills designed to improve care for Colorado residents.

Senate Bill 165 requires Medicaid patients to be reimbursed for telemedicine services just the same as if those services were rendered in person. This helps assure that Medicaid patients in rural Colorado receive the same level of care as patients in urban areas.

The bill also initiates a telemedicine “best practices” program for Medicaid patients suffering from a chronic disease, such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or pulmonary disease.

Senate Bill 4 requires the Department of Corrections to study how telemedicine can be used to improve medical services for inmates in state correctional facilities and report the findings to the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.

Senate Bill 213 protects Coloradoans from the practice known as “balance billing.”

Owens offered this example: A patient goes to the hospital for surgery after making sure the facility and surgeon are all covered in-network. Weeks after the surgery, the patient is shocked to receive an unexpected medical bill for thousands of dollars. It turns out that the anesthesiologist, for instance, was an out-of-network provider which means an out-of- network price.

Senate Bill 213 clarifies that health insurance plans, not patients, must pay the extra charges in those situations.

House Bill 1045 requires the analysis and reporting of infection data by health care facilities while House Bill 1278 creates what will be known as the Colorado Hospital Report Card.

HB 1045 requires facilities to collect data on infection rates for various clinical procedures including cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery and certain bloodstream infections.

HB 1278 will require a report card for every hospital, disclosing standardized quality and patient safety statistics.

With the information obtained through the Colorado Hospital Report Card Act, a Web site will be created where everyone can access the data. This should empower consumers as they compare information on specific hospitals and make informed medical decisions.

Golf lessons benefit ‘Go Red’

About 570 golf facilities across the country will offer women free golf lessons and a variety of social activities through June 10 as part of the American Express Women’s Golf Week presented by Golf For Women magazine.

All proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women program.

Each year, heart disease claims the lives of nearly 500,000 women. More women die of heart disease than the next five causes of death combined – including all cancers.

Surveys show that most women are more afraid of breast cancer than of cardiovascular disease, even though one in 28 women die from breast cancer, while almost one in two die from cardiovascular disease.

King’s Deer Golf Club in Monument is one of the many golf facilities around the country that will participate in Women’s Golf Week. King’s Deer will be offering the following activities:

On Course Playing Opportunity, 5 to 8 p.m. June 9. Three holes of playing including etiquette and rules for $25.

Ladies on the Links, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays, June 6-27. Four sessions for $50 or $12.50 a session.

For more information about these activities call King’s Deer at 481-1518. To find out more about the Go Red For Women program, visit goredforwomen.org.

The local Go Red For Women Education Day is Nov 3. Call the American Heart Association 635-7688 for more information.

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