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New value-added benefit offered to Medicare patients

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Medicare patients who are signed up for Medicare A & B, with two or more chronic health issues now are being offered a new value added benefit called chronic care management (CCM). Three professional, experienced registered nurses serve as care coordinators. Chronic health conditions may be diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, COPD, etc.

These RNs work with Delta County Memorial Hospital owned and operated clinics including Internal Medicine Associates, DCMH Primary Care and DCMH Family Medicine in Delta and Hotchkiss.

Debbie Dillon, RN, BSN has been a professional nurse for 35 years, working for the past 22 years as the school nurse at the West End Public Schools in Montrose County. She has experience in labor and delivery and medical surgical nursing at hospitals in Durango, Montrose and Delta.

Glenda Gallegos, RN, BSN has been a professional nurse for the past 23 years working in public health positions, including the Delta County Health Department, and has many years nursing experience in labor and delivery. In addition to working part time as a care coordinator, Gallegos is a school nurse for the Delta County School District.

Sherry Heinel, RN, BSN has been a professional nurse for the past 14 years and worked as an RN in coronary intensive care and utilization review at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., as a nurse case manager for the State of Kansas; and as a school nurse in the Wichita (Kan.) School District.

Medicare patients meet with the registered nurse care coordinators on an outpatient basis in person at the clinic, or over the telephone for customized interactions to assist in managing their health. Care coordinators will create a personalized plan of care based on each patient's needs and goals. This plan of care will be accessible to all caregivers and will have current and accurate health information. The patient continues to meet routinely with his/her provider at the medical clinic.

Enrolling in this program allows the patient to receive ongoing care from the medical practice between office visits and check ups. Medicare is billed monthly for the services provided and the patient is responsible for any deductible, co-insurance or co-pay (approximately $8.50 per month). If a patient has supplemental insurance, or qualifies for Medicaid in addition to Medicare A & B, these plans generally cover the $8.50 each month.

Medicare recipients can talk to their provider and sign a consent for enrollment to begin chronic care management with RN care coordinators. For more information, call 970-399-2601.

The care coordinators are employees of Delta County Memorial Hospital, which participates in the San Juan Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Other partners in the ACO include Montrose Memorial Hospital, Gunnison Valley Hospital, River Valley Health Center and Aspen Valley Hospital. The San Juan ACO's focus is on a team-based approach that includes the patient, family and providers. The primary goal is to improve care and reduce costs.

Deborah Dillon
Glenda Gallegos
Sherry Heinel
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health, Medicare
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