Centura Health acquires High Country Healthcare | SummitDaily.com

Centura Health acquires High Country Healthcare

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com
In this 2014 photo, local doctors and nurses collaborate to perform a surgery at the fifth-annual Community Surgery Day. One of the largest health-care providers in Summit County, High Country Healthcare, recently announced its merger with Centura Health Physician Group, as the larger organization bought out the 16-physician local practice.
Peter Janes / Special to the Daily |

Centura Health Physician Group recently bought out High Country Healthcare.

High Country Healthcare was established more than 20 years ago and now employs 16 primary- and specialty-care physicians, a nurse midwife and two physician assistants in four Summit County locations, including urgent-care centers in Breckenridge and Silverthorne.

The group’s employees will join Centura Health’s network of nearly 500 medical providers in more than 100 locations in Colorado and western Kansas, and the High Country Healthcare providers and staff will be on Centura Health’s payroll starting in November.

High Country Healthcare president Dr. Craig Louis Perrinjaquet — known locally as Doc PJ — said the acquisition should lead to more efficient health care and lower costs for patients.

“It’s going to allow me to see patients and do less administrative stuff,” he said. “From the patient side, it should be completely seamless.”

Summit County ranks No. 2 in state for uninsured rate

Colorado’s uninsured rate dropped to a record low of 6.7 percent, according to new data from the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey, which shows 353,000 state residents don’t have health insurance.

Findings from the survey, released Aug. 31, show the state’s uninsured rate has fallen by more than half since 2013, when it stood at 14.3 percent, representing 741,000 people without health insurance. In 2011, Colorado’s uninsured rate reached a high of 15.8 percent, or 829,000 peole without insurance.

In Region 12 — which includes Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and Grand counties — the uninsured rate is now 11.7 percent, down from 19.4 percent in 2013.

The region’s new rate is the second-highest in the state, behind Region 11, which includes Jackson, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco.

Funded by The Colorado Trust and administered by the Colorado Health Institute, the survey provides the first in-depth look at the record-breaking impact of the Affordable Care Act. The new findings track the full implementation of the health reform law in the state.

The law has affected populations unequally. Only 2.5 percent of children under 19 remain uninsured, down from 7 percent in 2013, and the uninsured rate for those earning at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level fell to 8.3 percent from 20.5 percent.

Hispanics continue to be the most disproportionately uninsured, and the Western Slope, especially northwestern Colorado, still struggles with the highest uninsured rates.

Health care is still unaffordable for many, the study notes. The percentage of residents who didn’t see a doctor because it cost too much declined only slightly.

For more information, visit coloradohealthinstitute.org.

Small business owners invited to Frisco health-insurance workshop

Elevate CoSpace will host a free workshop on Monday, Sept. 14, on small business health-insurance solutions.

Attendees will be provided information on the Connect for Health Colorado SHOP program, IRS tax credits, fall open-enrollment options and solutions for business owners with discontinued plans or insurers that have terminated coverage.

Speakers will include Patti Meyer, Connect For Health Colorado’s small business market manager, Beth Casey, with InTandem Human Resources, and Stacey Gilbert, Denver Tech Insurance employee benefits consultant.

The limited-space, educational event is for qualified small businesses with two or more W-2 employees. The event will be from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 711 Granite St. in Frisco.

For more information, visit https://elevatebizsolutionsseminar.eventbrite.com.

New OB/GYN joins High Country Healthcare

Dr. Laura Howell recently joined High Country Healthcare OB/GYN Specialists in Frisco and will provide obstetric and gynecologic care to women in Summit County.

“I have a special interest in adolescent care but look forward to caring for women of all ages,” she said. “My other interest is in pelvic pain, and I am excited to provide options in minimally invasive surgery to my patients.”

After spending time in Summit County, she returned to her hometown of Johnson City, Tennessee, in 2007 and earned her medical degree from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine. During medical school, she helped set up a primary care clinic in Ecuador.

She completed her residency training at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, and she has received awards for excellence in laparoscopic surgery and in family planning.

An avid athlete, she alpine skis, snowboards and cross-country skis in the winter. She once coached soccer in Summit County, but, after three knee surgeries, she transitioned to trail running and road biking with hopes of coaching again in the future.


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