Medical – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:48:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 PSMC hit by Russian hacking No patient data compromised http://www.pagosasun.com/psmc-hit-by-russian-hacking-no-patient-data-compromised/ Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:59:10 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191523 Staff at Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) recently learned that the medical center was criminally hacked by a group purportedly sponsored by the Russian government about two years ago, though the hackers were not successful in gaining any data.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-197/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:08 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191172 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education special meeting. 5 p.m., Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board work session. 9 a.m., Pagosa Baking Company, 238 Pagosa St.
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education notice of gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Health insurance change for county employees to take effect Jan. 1, 2020 http://www.pagosasun.com/health-insurance-change-for-county-employees-to-take-effect-jan-1-2020/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190606 The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously at its Oct. 15 meeting to change providers for county employees’ health benefits.
The change will affect county employees’ “medical, prescription, dental, vision, group life and AD&D [accidental death and dismemberment] along with voluntary benefits,” Archuleta County Human Resources Administrator Robert Smith wrote in an email.
The changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Smith explained to The SUN last week that the county’s previous health provider, County Technical Services Inc. (CTSI), was hitting the county with a 6 percent increase for its health insurance premiums, and the county commissioners asked Smith to put the health plan out to bid.
“So, I did,” explained Smith, adding, “Had we stayed with CTSI, the county would have been forced into taking the 6 percent rate increase and either absorbing that total cost upon the county or sharing part of that cost with the employees.”
The county will save about $104,000 with the new plan, explained Smith.
Smith reported the plan coverages are generally the same, with some coverages being a little better than under the previous plan and some of the coverages being a little bit worse.
“All in all, in my opinion, it’s going to come out a real good deal for the county and the employees,” Smith said.
Smith explained the new plan offers freedoms the previous CTSI plan did not. For example, Smith can now take out the county’s insurance plan out to bid each year to find better rates — something that was prohibited with CTSI.
The new plan is also a “level funded plan,” which makes the county eligible for money back at the end of the year.
“The plan design is called a level funded plan, and what that means is that every insurance company when they rate a provider, or employer, they estimate what their total cost of claims is going to be … they price the premiums accordingly,” Smith said.
Smith explained that if Archuleta County comes in below the “maximum expected loss,” the insurance company will split the money 50/50 with the county.
“[The county] can put it into future premiums, future employee benefit costs, things of that nature, to help offset potential increases,” Smith said.
At the commissioners’ work session on Oct. 15, Smith stressed that county employees need to submit any services with health professionals prior to the end of the year.
“[County employees must] understand that they absolutely have to make sure that any services that they are having now with doctors, providers of any kind, that those get submitted before the end of the year in order to be paid. ‘Cause if they don’t, CTSI won’t pay them out.”
County Administrator Scott Wall noted at the meeting that all the local health providers are included in the county’s new health plan.
The county’s previous provider was Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. The county’s new plan will include coverage under Cigna, set to begin on Jan. 1, 2020.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-196/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190608 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board meeting. 4:30 p.m., Visitor Center, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers,  6:551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors.30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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San Juan Basin Public Health can guide you through insurance season http://www.pagosasun.com/san-juan-basin-public-health-can-guide-you-through-insurance-season/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 22:00:29 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190646 By Kevin O’Connor
Special to The SUN
It’s health insurance season again and San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is here to guide you to the coverage you need.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Prescription drug disposal information http://www.pagosasun.com/prescription-drug-disposal-information/ Sun, 03 Nov 2019 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190307 By Kay Kaylor
PREVIEW Columnist
For San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I am not only a part-time long-term care ombudsman, which is an advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. I also am an aging and disability resource specialist and trained Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was Oct. 26 and people may not know that Pagosa Springs Medical Center has a permanent Take Back Meds Dropbox, a metal container about 4 feet high in the hospital near the registration desk. The hours when the drawer is open for dropping off unused and expired prescriptions are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday.
Because medications might fall into the wrong hands or pollute drinking water, rivers, lakes and streams, programs such as these allow people to clean out their medicine cabinets and safely, and anonymously turn in their unused prescription drugs. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs and a majority were obtained from family and friends, often from a home medicine cabinet.
Disposal methods that used to be considered safe, such as flushing prescription drugs down the toilet or mixing them with cat litter, have proven to cause more problems. Wastewater treatment plants do not or cannot remove the drugs from effluent water and the mixed litter in the trash leaches contaminants into landfills.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call me at 264-0501, ext. 1 or send an email to adrc@sjbaaa.org.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-195/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 21:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190216 The following meetings are subject to change.
Monday, Nov. 4
Dispatch Executive Management Board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 5
San Juan Basin Public Health and District Attorney Budget meetings. Noon (includes travel time), Durango County Administration Building, 1101 E. 2nd Ave., Durango.
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 6
Pagosa Peak Open School Board training. 8 a.m., Pagosa Brewing and Grill, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board special meeting. 4:30 p.m., Town Hall conference room, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors. 6:30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Health insurance open enrollment begins soon http://www.pagosasun.com/health-insurance-open-enrollment-begins-soon/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 21:00:04 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190214 By Claire Ninde
Special to The SUN
Open enrollment is right around the corner, and recent changes to health insurance laws and regulations may result in lower rates and better plan options for 2020. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15, 2020.
Consumers who are not eligible for financial assistance will see rate reductions averaging 30 percent in southwestern Colorado. Other consumers may be able to upgrade to more generous plans at very little additional cost.
San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) will be providing presentations and walk-in events throughout the region, as well as phone and in-person health insurance support.
Kevin O’Connor, certified health coverage guide, will review what’s new in health insurance for 2020 as well as providing tips on how to choose the right coverage at the following events:
• Nov. 13, Silverton Miner’s Hall, 1315 Snowden St., Silverton, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enrollment event, information provided.
• Nov. 14, Pagosa Springs Medical Center, 95 South Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enrollment event, information provided.
• Nov. 16, La Plata County Fairgrounds, 2500 Main Ave., Durango, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enrollment event, information provided.
• Dec. 7, Pagosa Springs Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Blvd., Pagosa Springs, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enrollment event, information provided.
For more information, call O’Connor at 335-2021.

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Archuleta Integrated Healthcare doesn’t receive federal designation http://www.pagosasun.com/archuleta-integrated-healthcare-doesnt-receive-federal-designation/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 10:56:31 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190117 Axis Health System’s request to have Archuleta Integrated Healthcare (AIH) designated as a federally qualified health center (FQHC) did not bear fruit.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Partnership leads to faster emergency response http://www.pagosasun.com/partnership-leads-to-faster-emergency-response-2/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 10:53:14 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=189764 Since July, the Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) has been responding as medical first responders to certain medical calls to aid the Upper San Juan Health Service District (USJHSD).
The program is called the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) program, according to the PFPD.
Jason Webb, clinic director and Emergency Medical Services director for USJHSD, which operates Pagosa Springs Medical Center, told The SUN recently that an informal partnership has been in place for a long time, but the changes that took place this summer have PFPD responding automatically, instead of by request, to major medical events and trauma incidents.
“The point of it all is that there are certain scenarios where time is of the essence: if you’re bleeding, if you’re in cardiac arrest, if you’re having a heart attack, if you’re having a stroke,” Webb explained, adding, “The quicker we can get people there, the better outcome the patient is probably going to have.”
Webb explained that ambulances typically send two EMTs, usually a paramedic and an EMT to medical scenes and the EMR program can bolster response times and overall make the community safer.
Webb explained that patients who are very sick require “a whole team,” and the PFPD responding automatically to certain medical events allows for a better quality of care and service.
The PFPD has 16 EMTs on staff and an additional 15 personnel are enrolled in the EMR class, according to a press release about the EMR program by the PFPD.
Paid firefighters are required to obtain their EMT certification within one year of being hired.
According to the press release, the primary goal of implementing the EMR program is to “deliver rapid lifesaving medical care to citizens in need and to provide on-scene support for patients while additional advanced medical personnel are en route.”
Webb noted that in unique circumstances EMR-certified fire volunteers could respond quicker than EMS personnel, such as if a volunteer firefighter was dispatched to a scene that was close to their home, as volunteer firefighters often go directly to incidents from their private residences.
The PFPD’s press release states that because the PFPD has seven fire stations located throughout the county where volunteers are stationed, it allows PFPD “to provide a timely response to medical calls in outlying areas.”
Webb explained that the EMR program is especially beneficial in a community like Archuleta County where public services districts can be underfunded and have fewer resources.
“I think [this] is a huge benefit because we don’t have a ton of resources,” Webb said, adding, “It’s a huge benefit to kind of lean on each other.”

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