Grand Junction's healthcare system has
received considerable positive press of late. This attention grew on a
national level from Atul Gawande's June 1, 2009 article in the New Yorkerand culminated in President Obama's August townhall meeting to discuss healthcare reform. The New Yorker article highlighted findings from The DartmouthAtlas that Mesa County, CO maintains nearly the lowest per capita Medicare cost in the U.S.
There are numerous drivers behind Mesa County's low healthcare costs, including:
The effective cost controls of a long-standing local non-profit insurance plan;
The efficiency of one of the nation's most successful regional health information organizations; and
The presence of a non-profit hospital that sponsors a rural family medicine residency.
There is more to this story. Mesa County is also home to an enduring
and expanding integrated care project. Marillac Clinic began providing
behavioral health services in the primary care setting in 2000, when
this concept was in a pilot stage.Over the past decade, the concept of
integrating care for the mind and body has been widely embraced
throughout the country.
Much of the work in building the Mesa County system has been carried
out by the local Integrated Care Council. Council members represent
the largest primary care offices, safety net clinics, public and private
mental health offices, hospital services, healthcare payors, consumers,
During this week, we will highlight successes of council members. On
Wednesday Fran Parker, the coordinator of a 5-year integration grant,
will present a day-in-the-life of a safety net clinic case manager. On
Thursday 2 physicians will present integrated care initiatives. Amy
Davis, a family physician, will present a prenatal group clinic for
migrant families. Patrice Whistler, a pediatrician, will present the
development of integration in the for-profit sector. And, on Friday,
Randall Reitz, the current council president will describe how we
have promoted integration through the creation of a community white
Throughout this week, please take a moment to share some of your community's successes.