by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — During the regular meeting of the Huerfano County Hospital District Board of Directors July 25, Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center President/CEO Todd Oberheu said the mammography unit installation was completed in late June and administration is hopeful they will be able to begin performing services by Aug. 7.
Rahel Ramsey made a presentation to the board saying the mammography unit will reduce radiation levels by 25 percent and is 50 percent more effective in detection of tumors.
The health care center expects to see a savings of approximately $36,000 per year with the upgrade.
She said CT images will be nearly 60 percent better than traditional film images and reduce patient doses by 40 percent over older model CAT scan units. Installation of the refurbished CAT scan unit is expected in October and the unit will only be down for two days as internal mechanisms and software are replaced by new technology.
Administration said this will be the best CT unit in southern Colorado.
Oberheu reported Matt Guy performed an assessment of the La Veta Family Clinic to determine feasibility of converting the facility to a Rural Health Clinic and said some renovations would be needed to bring the structure into compliance with RHC rules. They will continue to explore those options.
It was noted the clinic had to shut down for two days in July due to heat. Administration has been in discussion with the building owner, Dr. Patrick Sternberg regarding various options for renovations. To address the heating-cooling issue, board member Al Tucker moved administration enter into discussions with Sternberg that would see the family clinic enter into a two year lease, with an option to end the lease early and pay for half the cost of a new air conditioning system installation, if the owner agrees to install the system.
It was also reported La Clinica in Gardner has a new metal roof, thanks to volunteer efforts.
In other business Oberheu reported SPRHC has received $8,700 from the Colorado Rural Health Center for participation in the I-Care program which works to reduce patient re-admissions.
The hospital’s Think Pink event is set for August 18 to celebrate women’s health services. Staff and administration will host an afternoon tea and presentations will be made by a variety of health care professionals. This event will also be used to introduce the new mammography unit to the public.
The Spanish Peaks HealthCare Foundation’s annual golf tourney is set for Aug. 31 at Grandote Peaks Golf Club in La Veta.
During the board meeting July 25, Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home-Walsenburg Director Mary Schlink was in and out of the board room as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was conducting their annual survey of the facility.
The five-person survey team arrived at the nursing home on Monday, July 22. Staff learned this team will be assigned to survey the local facility on an ongoing basis and felt this was favorable as both groups would get to know one another better.
Schlink said this week the nursing home only received three minor tags, or citations, during the extensive survey and one has already been informationally addressed with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Overall, she said the survey team was very complimentary of the staff, procedures and facility.
Schlink reported the nursing home’s Silver Queen, Betty Quinn, the newly elected Resident Council President, would be representing the home in the August 28 Silver Queen contest associated with the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
Former Resident Council President Jeanne O’Connor, gave inservice presentations to over 60 staff members regarding resident’s dignity. “Her presentations were spread out over a week and included both day and evening shifts,” Schlink said. She added O’Connor is now the facility’s Residents’ Rights Advocate.
Schlink reported the last Advisory Committee Meeting involved discussions concerning veterans being part of the community and community members becoming more involved in the nursing home. Also discussed was the future of resident’s accommodations, specifically discussions centered on transformation of semi-private rooms to private rooms. “Accomplishing this would require a grant from the VA,” Schlink said. She said such a grant would require an estimated 35 percent funding from the CSVNH-Walsenburg and would require board approval to move forward.
The monthly Alzheimer’s support group has been established and is open to all family and community members and will be held at 10 am on the second and fourth Wednesday each month.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward