Mesa County a Model Health Care System

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

With congress focused on reforming the national health care system some legislatures are looking to Grand Junction as a model for the country.

In an address to the senate, Colorado senator Michael Bennet highlighted Mesa County as a leader in health care reform.

Bennet says, "And its clear that our community on the Western Slope of Colorado is on to something ground breaking."

Bennet referenced an article in the New Yorker magazine that puts grand junction front and center for quality health care at a lower cost.

Bennet says, "Other systems should look to Colorado and other systems in 24 states that have already begun to follow this model."

Local officials say they are proud of what's been accomplished here in Grand Junction, but say they couldn't have done it alone.

Hopkins "Our model really is about collaboration."

Rocky mountain health care plans CEO John Hopkins says it took three decades off doctors working together to make Grand Junction health care what it is today, and says it's that sort of teamwork that will be hard to duplicate.

"I don't think you can simply take what Rocky Mountain does and apply that nationally."

One thing Bennet does hope to change nationally is the re–admission rate of patients to hospitals.

Bennet "In Mesa County the City of Grand Junction implemented an integrated health care system that provides follow up care with patients."

Hopkins says that's a good example of physicians working together to fill the community's need.

Hopkins "Recognize the service that patients are going to need when they leave the hospital."

Bennet is pulling ideas and methods from what we do here in his 'Medicare care transitions act'.

It's something he hopes to implement nationally. However Hopkins cautions against a cut and paste solution. Models like the one here take time to build and require members of the community to step up and make a difference.

Hopkins says, "Just because you say you're going to change the health care system in your community that you are going to see something happen within a year or two."

In addition to Senator Bennet's praise, Representative John Salazar is taking our health care system to the president, and officially asked Barack Obama to visit Grand Junction. We haven't yet heard if the president will accept the invitation.


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