Obama invited to tour valley health insurer

President Obama has an invitation to visit Rocky Mountain Health Plans in Grand Junction, courtesy of U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo.

Salazar, whose 3rd Congressional District includes Grand Junction, where Rocky Mountain Health Plans is based, noted in his invitation to the president that the health care system in Mesa County has been lauded both in an essay in the New Yorker magazine and the Dartmouth Atlas, a study of health-care systems in the United States.

“I am very supportive of your push for health-care reform, so I would like to extend an invitation to you to view the incredibly innovative facilities firsthand in Grand Junction,”

Salazar wrote to Obama. “I feel that the model Grand Junction has provided is a step in the right direction towards health care for the nation. Reform is necessary, and Grand Junction’s model has been tested and proven to be efficient and effective.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., visited Rocky Mountain Health Plans last month and introduced the Medicare Transitions Act of 2009, which would encourage other delivery systems to model the patient-transition care pioneered by Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

Officials and physicians at the time stressed the role of nonprofit organizations in the Mesa County health-care system

“It’s not just about Rocky or the docs or the hospitals,” Rocky Mountain Health Plans President Steve ErkenBrack said, ticking off a series of organizations as disparate as QHN, which maintains medical records electronically, to B4Babies, which counsels parents-to-be about infants, Marillac Clinic for uninsured patients, home-health programs and Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, all of which work together with patients.

“There’s a lot of cooperation that goes on in this community,” ErkenBrack said. “We’d welcome any policy maker, and we’d certainly welcome the president” to tour the system.


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