Rural health conference held in Springs

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The Colorado Rural Health Center is having its annual conference today and tomorrow at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs.

It’s the first time the group has held the rural health conference in Colorado Springs.

The purpose of the conference is to inform health care professionals about rural health care issues. Topics to be discussed include health care reform nationally and locally, innovative solutions to accessing care, preparation for rural hospitals and providers seeking to reach stage two in meaningful use of electronic health records, and provider shortages.

“This is one of the toughest years for the rural health care safety net and the situation we are facing is critical,” said Michelle Mills, CEO of CRHC. “Potential cuts are looming including sequestration that will cut 2 percent of the Medicare payments, which is disproportionately harmful to rural communities.”

A number of people will speak at this year’s conference, including international speaker and trainer Patty Skolnik. Skolnik is the Founder and Executive Director of Citizens for Patient Safety, an organization dedicated to promoting the safe health care of patients through, advocacy, education and systemic change. Other speakers include Darlene Bainbridge, president and CEO of D.D. Bainbridge & Associates and Michelle Rathman-Batscheke, president and CEO of Impact Communications. Carol Bruce-Fritz, the executive director of Community Health Partnership, will represent a local Colorado Springs organization, as part of a panel discussion on care integration.

The conference is also an opportunity for professionals and leaders in the industry to network and share resources. There are 35 vendors exhibiting with 14 of those representing out-of-state corporations and businesses.

Local vendors include, Banner Health, Colorado Physician Health Program, Diversified Radiology of Colorado, Peer Assistance Services, and the Physician Assistant Program at Red Rocks Community College.