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Local Organizations Partner to Expand Care for Serious Illnesses

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The Telluride Regional Medical Center, in partnership with Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork), will soon boost palliative services with a program to coordinate care for patients with serious, advanced or chronic illnesses, thanks to a grant from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Trust

Palliative care is specialized medical care for serious illness that aims to improve quality of life for patients and families. Until last summer, palliative services weren’t available in the region.

“We were struggling as a community to reach out and unburden families facing difficult health care challenges,” said Dr. Sharon Grundy, primary care medical director at the Telluride Regional Medical Center. “Our hands were basically tied.”

Not so anymore.

Through a partnership with Pasco Home Health in Cortez, TCHNetwork and the Telluride Regional Medical Center expanded home visits and palliative care in the region. With funding from a private donor, TCHNetwork brought world-renowned palliative specialists to the region for educational sessions offered to local medical professionals.

“By leaps and bounds this past year, we’ve been able to expand and improve our ability to care for the sickest among us,” said Dr. Grundy.

In recognition of those efforts, the Saul Zaentz Foundation awarded a three-year grant to TCHNetwork and the Telluride Regional Medical Center. Funds will be used to hire a Program Director, who with support from an Advisory Committee, will develop an organization to identify services, engage with strategic partners, conduct a community readiness assessment, complete a needs-assessment to find gaps in care, and create a volunteer program to help provide support to families and primary caregivers

“This project serves as an example of how community organizations can partner to address the needs of our community,” said John Gardner, CEO Telluride Regional Medical Center. He expects this program could be in place by the end of summer.

“Offering assistance to our friends and neighbors and allowing them the best possible quality of life as they confront complicated illnesses is an important mission of ours,” said Dr. Grundy.

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Telluride Regional Medical Center provides the highest quality, comprehensive Primary Care and exceptional Emergency / Trauma Services. Since 1978, the medical center has evolved, wherever possible, right along with complex healthcare technologies and population growth, while remaining within the 10,000-square-foot remodeled residential building built in the 1960s. Currently, the Telluride Hospital District is working towards building a new facility in Mountain Village; this facility will serve the needs of the Telluride region today, tomorrow, and fifty years into the future.

Tri-County Health Network – Formed in 2009, is comprised of a group of health care providers that includes Montrose Memorial Hospital, the Basin Clinic, Uncompahgre Medical Center, Telluride Medical Center, River Valley Family Health Center, the Center for Mental Health, and the Telluride Foundation. As part of its strategic plan, TCHNetwork operates a number of community outreach programs that serve a vital role in filling the void of access to critical health care by assuring care is accessible, affordable, and available to all populations living in the San Miguel, Montrose, or Ouray counties regardless of socioeconomic status. In addition to offering Cooking Matters, programs include: the Regional Medical Shuttle; Skippy; Health Insurance Enrollment Assistance; Community Health Worker Preventive Care Outreach; and Patient Health Navigator Chronic Care Outreach. For more information, visit www.tchnetwork.org.