Bristlecone shares goals, apologizes
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Bristlecone Health Services executives fielded questions from a passionate audience Tuesday regarding changes since Centura Health at Home acquired the health services provider March 1.
Lack of communication was a concern frequently addressed during the community forum at the Summit County Senior Center.
“Honestly, I will sit and I’ll give you whips, you know, tar and feathers. I will tell you that there was definitely a disconnect,” Bristlecone CEO Erin Denholm said.
She said the company’s priority toward patients and families contributed to the forum’s delay of about seven weeks. Centura Health acquired Bristlecone, including the right to its name, after it had served the county more than 25 years with home care, hospice and other services. Centura Health is a large network of health providers including more than 10 hospitals, one of which is St. Anthony Summit Medical Center.
Denholm said Bristlecone services now include oxygen services, home infusion and wound care in addition to those Bristlecone formerly provided. However, the equipment loaner program has ended because of liability issues.
Bristlecone vice president of patient services Melody Wright said staff for hospice services is under recruitment.
“We honestly, we just truly do not have the support staff yet to support hospice,” Wright said. “We hope to have that up and running by August.”
The status of volunteers was high among topics of conversation Tuesday for both host and audience.
Wright said the company has about one and a half volunteers, down from about 25 before the acquisition. She said Bristlecone doesn’t have a list of the former volunteers but that advertising is under way.
Wright said staff has assumed responsibility of delivering meals ” a service formerly provided by volunteers ” but that currently there are only three recipients.
Denholm said volunteers are needed and can help in such areas as respite for family members, pet care, office work and more. She said she is sorry for those offended by miscommunication.
“We’re willing to do whatever we need to do going forward, because we would never slap the hand of somebody that would be willing to help us now,” she said.
A sign-up form for volunteers was passed among the audience.
Some audience members expressed concern that the former volunteers had been terminated.
Jeff Herynk, Bristlecone board president before its acquisition, said the board struggled with making terminations because of a legal obligation to “satisfy liability issues.”
“One of the things that, to kind of digest, is that by law when we knew the acquisition was going to take place, we have an obligation to notify all of our employees 30 days in advance,” he said. “(We) had to notify volunteers that they were going to be terminated.”
Denholm said 11 former Bristlecone staff members have returned to Bristlecone post-acquisition. And the facility was relocated May 1 to 18 School Road in Frisco, the former Summit Medical Center building.
Centura Health at Home marketing director Susie Tombs said Wednesday the move was made because the former location wasn’t equipped for oxygen storage and was farther from U.S. Interstate 70.
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