Telluride Regional Medical Center initiating Winter Wellness Challenge.

When many of us think of Telluride, we often think of a youthful community of fit individuals drawn to the region’s endless beauty and opportunities for outdoor activity. Depending on the season, you’ll find us skiing or riding single track, playing league hockey or softball, snowshoeing or hiking. It’s easy to assume that we’re all living a healthy lifestyle and seldom need to visit the Telluride Regional Medical Center (Telluride Regional Medical Center) for more than our annual physical, the occasional cold or perhaps when we catch an edge or go over the handlebars.

However, our community is not immune to many of the health concerns that effect the rest of the country. Many Telluride residents face day to day challenges with chronic health concerns and benefit from receiving regular care from Telluride Regional Medical Center. Working behind the scenes to help these patients avoid adverse health outcomes is Telluride Regional Medical Center’s Care Management team. Care Management is a relatively new concept in the world of Primary Care. It refers to a set of evidence- based, integrated clinical care activities that are tailored to each individual patient to ensure that the patient has his or her own coordinated plan of care and services.

In 2013, Telluride Regional Medical Center along with 73 other practices in Colorado, was selected to participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCi), a pilot program of the Affordable Care Act aimed at improving quality healthcare while reducing costs. The CPCi grant was initially proposed as a three year Federal grant and has since been extended through 2016 due to its effectiveness. In 2014, Medicare saw a 53.7 million dollar reduction in care costs in Colorado alone. Many insurance companies have realized the benefit of Care Management and now offer incentives for practices that have created these positions.

The role of Care Manager (CM) is multi-faceted. The CM meets regularly with each of Telluride Regional Medical Center’s providers to review chronic patients and receive directives for their care, provides dietary and physical activity counseling, and acts as a liaison between patients and their Primary Care Physician. Additionally, the CM assists with transitions of care for patients who have been seen in an Emergency Department (ED) or have been hospitalized. This helps to avoid costly and often unnecessary repeat ED visits and helps educate patients on the difference between emergent and non-emergent care.

Since January 2015, the Telluride Regional Medical Center’s Care Management team has provided support services to approximately 1,200 chronic care and ED patients. “I have no doubt that Care Management, with a specific focus on preventative medicine, is the way of the future. Being proactive with patient care is essential for increasing patient activation and reducing overall cost” Bridget Taddonio, Telluride Regional Medical Center’s Care Manager and Wellness Counselor.

Bridget has many stories about patients who have benefitted from Care Management. Take the example of the patient with Type II Diabetes and a body mass index (BMI) over 30. The patient’s Primary Care Physician recommended support from the Care Management Team. Over the next 15 months, Bridget worked with the client to provide nutritional counseling and to create an exercise schedule. Through the process, the patient lost over 26 lbs., his BMI dropped from 31 to 26 and he says he enjoys the support and accountability.

In keeping with its resolution to use innovative approaches to improve patient care, the Telluride Regional Medical Center will be launching its first ever Winter Wellness Challenge in January, a FREE 10 week program aimed at helping patients improve nutrition knowledge, lose weight, improve their cardiovascular fitness and better manage stress. The program will also include a monthly outdoor activity such as cross country skiing in Town Park or snowshoeing on the valley floor that patients and providers can participate in together. “We all need help with motivation at times to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some people respond well to group motivation and tracking. The Winter Wellness Challenge will be a great experience for those who choose to participate”, said Dr. Sharon Grundy.

The program will be led by Bridget, with occasional visits from Rae Schaffner, Telluride Regional Medical Center’s Behavior Health Counselor, and various Telluride Regional Medical Center providers. Each of the 10 participants will receive a FitBit activity/nutrition tracker that is theirs to keep if they attend all 10 sessions. The FitBits were donated by the Telluride Regional Medical Center Foundation. “We are proud to help with the purchase of the fit-bits for the Winter Wellness challenge. Special thanks to all who made this possible through their donations to the Telluride Regional Medical Center Foundation”, Kate Wadley, Executive Director of Philanthropy with the Telluride Regional Medical Center Foundation.

For more information about the Winter Wellness Challenge, please contact Bridget at (970) 369-2322.

Press ReleasesBeth Kelly