Centura assures Summit about Bristlecone services | SummitDaily.com

Centura assures Summit about Bristlecone services

summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FRISCO ” Acknowledging poor communication during Centura Health at Home’s recent acquisition of Bristlecone Health Services generated community mistrust, the company’s chief executive officer reassured local officials that all major services provided by Bristlecone will continue.

CEO Erin Denholm also said Monday the top concern she heard from community members who wanted to know if people who can’t afford services will be served. Her response was, “Absolutely.”

Along with several other Centura Health at Home officials, she visited Summit County Monday to meet with county officials. They answered questions about the future of Bristlecone, which has provided home care, hospice, bereavement counseling and other services in the county for more than 25 years.

County officials described the meetings as “positive and constructive.”

“We purchased the name (Bristlecone) because we recognize the legacy,” said Denholm, leader of Centura Health at Home, which has locations throughout the state and promotes being in the top 5 percent of home-care agencies in the nation.

The commissioners looked at how the partnership could address community needs, said Steve Hill, assistant county manager. The county also asked Centura to submit reasons why they believe the commission should give them the reduced rate of rent (which Bristlecone had before the acquisition) on the location in the Medical Office Building.

That should be presented to the board later some time in the next two months, Hill said. And this month, the county hired Noreen Galaba, RN, formerly the executive director of Bristlecone for 11 years, as a consultant to help with the transition and keep programs in place before the acquisition continues.

During the transition, nine Bristlecone staff members have been rehired, and Centura is still interviewing for open positions. Prior to the transition, Bristlecone employed 21, including four office staff. None of the administration stayed, and Bristlecone now employees one full-time administrator.

All employees had the option of keeping the same pay or a different pay with the addition of benefits, Denholm said. Job offers were made to all the clinical staff who applied, according to Susie Tombs, Centura Health at Home marketing director.

Since the transition took place March 1, they have been working to “stabilize and rebuild the support structure,” Denholm said.

Also, the same services Bristlecone offered will continue with the exception of the loaner equipment program, which will be run a bit differently, she added. Services they plan to add include infusion, so patients can get medications intravenously from home, and home oxygen, she said.

During the transition, a number of Bristlecone volunteers didn’t reapply with Centura Health at Home to continue. As a result, the meal delivery program that was previously run by volunteers is being handled by staff.

However, Denholm hopes that volunteers will return to take over that program.

Another community concern Denholm wants to clear up is that counseling services will continue on they way they have been and will not be religion driven.

Bristlecone’s former board is continuing on under a new name, the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Foundation. The 13 members are in charge of a foundation fund that was not part of the acquisition and they will be deciding how a few thousand dollars, which could go to another nonprofit organization or health care, will be used, explained board president Jeff Herynk.

Of the 13 members, two will become Foundation advisors, where the proceeds from the sale of Bristlecone went, Herynk said. The money is earmarked for home care and hospice for Summit County residents.

Representatives from Centura Health at Home contacted Bristlecone’s board in January 2007 to talk about possibilities. From that, the Board decided unanimously to acquire Bristlecone based on “what is the best way to take care of the patients who need home care and hospice in our community,” Hernyk said.

It was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly, but the board felt it was “the right decision with the choices we had,” he added.

They felt competition between two organizations wouldn’t be in the best interest of the community and that Centura Health at Home has more resources, he said.

“To me it’s like any change. … Change is always difficult,” he said.

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