Paula Scheidegger recognized for impact on underserved patients

The Telluride Regional Medical Center announced this week their own Paula Scheidegger, RN has been awarded the Kaiser Permanente Educational Loan Repayment for Safety Net Clinical Support Staff. The purpose of the program is to support retention of high performing clinical support staff serving in underserved areas.

Scheidegger is one of only 14 recipients to receive the recognition and award, out of 91 applicants.

As Practice Manager at Telluride Regional Medical Center, Scheidegger spends her time reviewing operations, developing policies and procedures, monitoring the budget, managing grants for underserved populations, and acting as a liaison between the Primary Care and the Emergency Department.

Additionally, she oversees care management tasks for the clinic’s high-risk Hispanic patients.

“My position at the medical center has provided me with an incredible platform to make a difference in the lives of so many people," said Scheidegger.

"Since I moved to this community, I’ve been embraced and I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to give back to the people of our region,” said Scheidegger.

Scheidegger and her family fled Colombia in 1999 under political asylum to seek refuge in the United States. She attended the University of Miami where she double majored in Biology and Marine Science. After graduation she followed her husband to his home of Ridgway. 

“When we arrived I was unsure how I would put my education to use, so I applied for a front desk position at the med center until I could find something in my field,” said Scheidegger. 

That decision, now nearly a decade ago, changed the course of her professional life forever.

Scheidegger worked her way up the ranks from Front Desk Associate/Medical Interpreter, to Medical Assistant, to Care Manager, to her current position as Manager of Primary Care.

While this transition has been extremely rewarding, it has also been expensive. In 2014 she attended a one year accelerated nursing program at Regis University in Denver where she received a Bachelor's in Nursing degree, Dean’s list recognition, and $60,000 in student debt.

“This degree allowed me to continue my passion for serving underprivileged populations in a rural setting in a more hands-on way, but the financial burden has been cumbersome,” said Scheidegger.

The loan repayment award from Kaiser Permanente will go towards those debts.

“Paula truly makes an impact on the underserved in Colorado,” said John Gardner, the medical center’s CEO. “And we just couldn’t be more thrilled she was selected for this award.”