Health Care

River Valley Family Health Center

A health center in Olathe that primarily serves low-income and uninsured patients is expanding.  

River Valley Family Health Center is opening a location in Montrose this week. A majority of the health center’s patients are on Medicaid or don’t have insurance.  

Delta County Memorial Hospital
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Over the summer, Delta County Memorial Hospital ended its partnership with the North Fork Clinics. The relationship lasted for a little over a year. DCMH had taken over managing the clinics in Paonia and Hotchkiss. After the hospital announced it was returning management to the two physicians who previously owned the clinics, the facility in Hotchkiss closed and one of the physicians left.

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Delta County Memorial Hospital, Urgent Care
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The federal government has changed the way it pays hospitals through Medicare. It now factors in patient satisfaction. To discuss the affects on a local hospital, KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks with Jason Clecker, the CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital. Over 60 percent of DCHM patients are on Medicare.

To see how your local hospital scored visit

Delta County Memorial Hospital, Urgent Care
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

For the past three years, Delta County Memorial Hospital has been participating in a pilot program that's allowed it to collect more money from Medicaid and Medicare for its services. 

The program will sunset in 2017, but the hospital doesn't want to that to happen. That's why it's lobbying federal lawmakers to support two bills that would extend it.  

Additionally, the hospital wants to see if it can change its classification in effect making those larger payments permanent, but to do that it also needs federal support. 

Buying health care in America is like shopping blindfolded at Macy's and getting the bill months after you leave the store, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt likes to say.

But an online tool that went live Wednesday is supposed to help change that, giving patients in most parts of the country a small peek at the prices of medical tests and procedures before they open their wallets.

Got a sore knee? Having a baby? Need a primary-care doctor? Shopping for an MRI scan?

Colorado Division of Insurance, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Colorado Division of Insurance

The Delta County School District recently received $75,000 from the state to create a work training program. 

The grant comes from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

"Our hope is with that money we’ll [be able] to set up some tracks so that kids as they come out of high school potentially have their CNA and are able to pursue other types of health care fields," Kurt Clay, the assistant superintendent for the school district, says.  

Clay says the funds will be put towards scholarships for juniors and seniors seeking careers in the medical field. 

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

Delta County Memorial Hospital, Urgent Care
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Delta County Memorial Hospital is once again expanding its health care options for patients. Earlier this month the hospital opened an Urgent Care center in Delta. 

"We have a lot of the same things that an emergency room would have to care for people," Jane Rosen, a nurse practitioner with DCMH's new Urgent Care, says. 

Rosen explains how it differs from the emergency room.

LiveWell Montrose Olathe
Valley Food Partnership

Two Western Slope organizations have been awarded grants to promote fair access to health care. 

LiveWell Montrose Olathe received $200,000 from Colorado Trust, a health foundation, and Tri-County Health Network got $180,000. 

Tera Wick with LiveWell Montrose Olathe explains how her organization will use the funds. 


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Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

Tri-County Health Network is conducting a survey to try and get a better understanding of community health needs in San Miguel County, Ouray County and the West End.

Lynn Borup is the executive director of Tri-County Health Network, a nonprofit network of medical providers on the Western Slope.

She says the purpose of the survey is to find out what people want out of their health care. Borup says the organization has several methods of getting the survey out to the community.

North Fork Valley residents know how hard it can be to get an appointment to see a local doctor. Many medical practitioners have left the Valley in recent years, leaving the The North Fork Medical Clinics understaffed. Three week waits are not uncommon. But there's hope that things could get better.

Elise Thatcher/Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County wants Governor John Hickenlooper to intervene with the state's new health insurance rules. The county has some of the highest premiums in Colorado under new guidelines. which are part of the Affordable Care Act.


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Connect for Health Colorado

Officials with Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s new online health exchange, said the website saw 79,000 unique visitors for its first day on Monday.

Alicia Plantz with the Montrose Connect for Health Office says she’s received plenty of calls and some walk-ins over the past few days. She says most of the people she’s talked to so far want to know whether they’re eligible for financial assistance.

North Fork Ambulance

Today we speak with three members of the only ambulance and EMT service available to residents of the North Fork Valley and some surrounding areas. North Fork Ambulance is a non-profit, volunteer run group that's been serving the valley since 1969. 

Joining us in the studio for a conversation about the group's history, its mission and its methods are Richard Kinser - Operations Cheif and Board President, Dr. Dory Funk - board member and physician, and Kathy Steckel - Director of North Fork Ambulance.


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  • Delta County Commissioners Uphold Approval Of Chicken Operations
  • Colorado Secretary of State Facing Two Ethics Investigations
  • Republican VP Candidate Paul Ryan Visits Western Slope
  • Parks and Wildlife To Kill Fish, Restock Paonia Reservoir
  • State Recommends Whooping Cough Vaccinations


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  • State Unemployment Records Small Drop
  • Wildfire Updates: Southwest Colorado
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  • Fly Flags At Half-mast For Aurora Victim

Sal Pace is running for a seat in Congress in Colorado's Third Congressional District. He's currently a Democratic representative in the Colorado State House, based in Pueblo. KVNF's Ariana Brocious sat down with Pace on a recent tour through the district, to talk about his campaign platform and key issues.


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  • Rifle Hunt Preview With Wildlife Manager Kirk Madriaga
  • Walk/Run/Bike To Support Breast Cancer Program
  • Western Slope Skies


  • Two wildfires burned Friday near Hotchkiss
  • Highway 13 fire nearly contained
  • Railroad starts Goblin Fire near Durango
  • Flags lowered in honor of Fire Prevention Week
  • Voter registration deadline approaches
  • Health Care law makes insurance more affordable for businesses
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Delta County Memorial Hospital Administrator, John Mitchell, speaks with Ali Lightfoot about new developments at the hospital and in the county, and shares his opinions about healthcare reform.