You could say health care in the Grand Valley was in transition in 2019. Two of the three Grand Valley area hospitals hired new presidents and Delta County Memorial Hospital parted ways with its long-time CEO. New legislation at the state level sought to lower health care costs for Colorado residents, bring more transparency to what hospitals charge for services and provide a public insurance option for residents. Some of the impacts of those bills could become more clear in 2020.
Health care policy impact
Colorado legislators spent a lot of time looking at bills geared toward increasing transparency in health care, lowering costs and creating a new public option for Colorado residents that will likely launch in 2021.
Some said that hospitals were in the “crosshairs” of some of these bills. The real impacts of those bills should become apparent in 2020 as will the next priorities for legislators when they return in January.
Illness in the VALLEYIt’s not every year an entire school district shuts down due to a fast-moving, highly contagious virus. But while it’s unlikely that norovirus will run rampant again in 2020, regularly recurring illnesses such as the flu and West Nile virus remain on the radar for health officials. Already in the midst of flu season, some national reports state that flu is rampant this year. But in the Grand Valley, early reports only show one hospitalization since late September.
Changes abound at local hospitals. St. Mary’s Medical Center said goodbye to President Brian Davidson who moved to Denver. He was replaced by former Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bryan Johnson. Johnson was named to the position in August, but had been serving as the interim president since June.
The same is true for Family Health West in Fruita, as President and CEO Mark Francis retired in September and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Korrey Klein took up the post. Delta County Memorial currently has an interim CEO after Jason Cleckler’s contract was not renewed by the hospital’s board.
Community Hospital’s board decided against joining up with Centura Health, which would have brought in another large health care provider.