Republican Women’s meeting to discuss hospital, grassroots efforts


By Sandy Artzberger

Special to The SUN

On Sept. 9, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting will feature two speakers.

Brad Cochennet, CEO of the Upper San Juan Health Service District, will be addressing any upcoming plans for hospital expansion and any hospital participation in the school clinic being proposed by the school board.

The second speaker, Rebekah Brown, from the Heritage Action group, will discuss Heritage’s website.

The meeting will be held at be Nello’s Restaurant. Lunch is $10 per person. All are welcome. Call 731-6336 for information.

In 2008, Cochennet began his tenure as CEO at what is now called Pagosa Springs Medical Center, which consists of the hospital and outpatient clinic, a part of the San Juan Upper Health Service District. Under his direction, we have seen the hospital stabilize financially, the addition of the rural clinic with physicians and physician’s assistants/nurse practitioners, expansion of existing services, addition of new services such as gastroenterology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, a women’s health program, wellness program, diagnostic telemedicine connection with Swedish hospital, and the recent addition of a chief operating officer and more.

Brad’s previous experiences have enabled him to see the specific medical needs relative to the demographics of Pagosa and seek needed services. Prior to coming to Pagosa Springs, Brad was chief financial officer and chief operating officer from 2000 to 2006 for Mercy Regional Medical Center (senior executive for the $100-million-dollar new regional hospital and medical office building), led the financial turn around for a failing cardiology clinic, plus owned a business consulting firm.

Rebekah Brown will be discussing the Heritage Action website, which is loaded with information for the average voter to review how legislatures are voting, future bills, a scorecard on how votes have been cast, links to legislatures, etc.

Rebekah Brown is an Air Force child from the St. Louis, Mo., area. In 2014, she graduated summa cum laude from Colorado Christian University, where she studied history and political science. During her time at CCU, she worked on various grassroots campaigns in Douglas and Jefferson counties, and interned at the Colorado Legislature. She is now the western regional coordinator for Heritage Action, the grassroots arm of The Heritage Foundation. This position entails, in part, partnering with conservatives across the states of Colorado and Wyoming, educating, activating and partnering with the grassroots to hold Congress accountable to conservative principle and policy.