Primary Care Partners to get new director

Dr. Michael Pramenko will become the executive director of Primary Care Partners June 1.

Current executive director Dr. Roger Shenkel will retire at the end of this month. Shenkel, 69, founded one of the three practices that merged in 1998 to create Primary Care Partners. The partnership, based at 3150 N. 12th St. with a satellite office at 1120 Wellington Ave., offers primary family and pediatric care, mammography and diagnostics, nutrition services and after-hours care service Docs on Call.

Shenkel said he’s not sure how he will spend retirement but he plans to remain in Grand Junction. He said he is proud of Primary Care Partners and believes he is leaving it in good hands with Pramenko.

“We’ve tried to do what is right for the community, fill niches, and meet needs that were not being met,” Shenkel said.

Pramenko, 43, will continue to see patients part-time at Family Physicians of Western Colorado, which is part of Primary Care Partners. Like Shenkel, he will spend two days a week focusing on his new duties as executive director. Pramenko said he is looking forward to continuing Shenkel’s vision for the partnership.

“My specific goals are to help find savings in the system for patients and employers in Mesa County and continue to strive to make sure we stay patient-centered and make sure the health care system in this community does the same,” Pramenko said.

A search committee made up mostly of Primary Care Partners board members opened the executive director position to internal candidates first. In the fall, they selected Pramenko for the post.

Pramenko will serve as the immediate past president of the Colorado Medical Society through September and is a member of the Mesa County Medical Society. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and completed his undergraduate work at University of Colorado at Boulder. He has been a primary care physician since 1998.

Shenkel has been a primary care physician since 1973, when he opened a solo practice in Grand Junction. He completed his undergraduate work at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City in 1968.

In 1977, he helped create the St. Mary’s Family Practice Residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Shenkel met his eventual successor when Pramenko was a resident in the program in the mid-1990s and the two helped deliver a baby.

Shenkel stopped practicing medicine six years ago and has been working with Pramenko on the transition of leadership at Primary Care Partners for five months. Shenkel said his only plans for retirement so far include a week-long trip to San Francisco and spending time with his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.

“I kind of want to make a clean break and see what I want to do,” he said.


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