When Primary Care Clinical Practice Manager Paula Scheidegger started working on the front desk at Telluride Medical Center 14 years ago, she had no idea it would launch a rich and rewarding long-term health care career.

Paula’s hard work, dedication and leadership helped build the primary care department into what it is today. She was the driving force behind the medical center’s recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home. The department has grown in large part thanks to her passion, ingenuity and integrity.

When she arrived at the medical center as a recent graduate with a degree in marine biology, Paula assumed her job would be a temporary role until she found something in her chosen field. Instead, she worked her way up the ranks, first becoming an emergency medical technician, then a medical assistant and eventually transitioning into care management. She assumed her current role in 2016. In the midst of this career evolution, Paula somehow found time to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Regis University.

“I always had a passion for helping people, although I didn’t realize my passion for healthcare until I started working at the med center. Every role that I performed at the med center made my passion for health care increase,” said Paula.

After leading the primary care department through one of the most challenging periods in health care, Paula is now ready to pivot her focus back toward her family. She began that  transition on December 16.

“We will all miss her tremendously. Paula has been such an important member of our team and she has grown into an inspirational team leader,” said Dr. Sharon Grundy, who has worked with Paula during her entire tenure.

Paula leaves big shoes to fill. From patient care, to support for her staff, to managing budgets and grants, to directing care management for the clinic’s high-risk Hispanic patients, Paula wears a lot of hats. Her ability to inspire a sense of teamwork and connectedness makes it hard to put into words exactly how much she has meant to the medical center.

“She’s been the main source of help for our Latino community,” noted Dr. Grundy.

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Paula moved to the United States with her family in 1999 when her father was granted political asylum. She met her future husband, Kane Scheidegger, in Miami, where she attended college.  The pair moved to Kane’s hometown of Ridgway after graduation.

The area has been home to Paula ever since, and she is grateful for the warm welcome she received from the center’s staff and the larger community.

“In these past 14 years, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing human beings. The dedication, passion, and heart my coworkers have has always encouraged me to work harder and to do better. I am so grateful for our staff,” said Paula.

While Paula’s departure is sad, Primary Care Medical Director Dr. Christine Mahoney is excited to announce that Alicia Skoko will assume the role of Primary Care Nurse manager. In addition to her health care responsibilities, Alicia is also a board member for the Ridgway School District.

“Paula has been a huge help to my own growth as a leader,” said Dr. Mahoney. “She taught me a great deal about how to lead with care and compassion. I’m already making plans to meet her for some salsa dancing after we welcome in the New Year.”

If you’d like to send a farewell message to Paula, please use the form below.