Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group

Betsy Bair - Community Hospital - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group

January 12, 2023 Betsy Bair Season 3 Episode 1
Betsy Bair - Community Hospital - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group
Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group
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Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group
Betsy Bair - Community Hospital - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group
Jan 12, 2023 Season 3 Episode 1
Betsy Bair

Christi talks with Betsy Bair, the Corporate Affairs Administrator for Community Hospital in Grand Junction, CO. Hear about her interesting upbringing, her background in politics, and all the exciting things happening at Community Hospital right now. A lot of fantastic additions are opening in the near future, including the James Pulsipher Regional Cancer Center, the Early Childhood Education Center, and the new Palisade clinic!

You can learn more about Community Hospital at https://yourcommunityhospital.com/

If you prefer to watch your podcasts, check out the video of this interview at our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/@Christireecegroup

Show Notes Transcript

Christi talks with Betsy Bair, the Corporate Affairs Administrator for Community Hospital in Grand Junction, CO. Hear about her interesting upbringing, her background in politics, and all the exciting things happening at Community Hospital right now. A lot of fantastic additions are opening in the near future, including the James Pulsipher Regional Cancer Center, the Early Childhood Education Center, and the new Palisade clinic!

You can learn more about Community Hospital at https://yourcommunityhospital.com/

If you prefer to watch your podcasts, check out the video of this interview at our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/@Christireecegroup

Speaker 1:

The Full Circle podcast, compelling interviews and incredible tales from Colorado's Western Slope, from the mountains to the desert. Christie Reese and her team here from the Movers, shakers, and characters of the Grand Valley and surrounding mountain towns that make the Western slope the place we all love. You'll learn, you'll laugh, you'll love with the full circle. Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Full Circle Podcast. I'm Christie Reese, and I'm super excited today to have our guest, Betsy Bear, the corporate affairs Administrator for community hospital here in the Grand Valley. Welcome, Betsy. Thanks

Speaker 2:

For having me. Yeah, so

Speaker 1:

Excited to talk to you. Um, you know, I don't know a lot about your history other than what I just learned a couple minutes ago,<laugh>, that I think is really fascinating. So tell us a little bit about your early childhood.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, uh, Christie. I had a great childhood and kind of a different one. I was born in Arizona and my parents had gone to N A U. We lived in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful place. Beautiful. A lot of people compare Flagstaff to Grand Junction, kind of it's true. Similar in size and recreation and things like

Speaker 2:

That. And I still have some family who lives there. And then I just think my parents were adventuresome. So when I was very young, we moved to Fairbanks, Alaska and lived there, um, in Fairbanks and then in Wayne Wright, which is above the Arctic Circle. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. I am one of 11 children, number six. So I'm the middle child, five above me, five below below me. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

<laugh>, when you talk, talking about a middle child, you really mean middle child,

Speaker 2:

<laugh>,<laugh>. But I always say like I have the perfect like birth order because I lived with everyone. There's 20 years difference span

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.<affirmative> between the kids. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yep. And, um, so I knew everyone in a very different way. The, the older kids were literally like at college or grown before we call'em, the babies were born Uhhuh<affirmative>. And the babies are now in their thirties, so<laugh>. Wow. Yeah. It was a fun way. And then

Speaker 1:

So big family living in the, in the cold

Speaker 2:

Yep. And in the Alaskan bush for quite a bit of

Speaker 1:

It. And you said you hauled water?

Speaker 2:

Well, when we lived in Wayne Wright, they had water. Your water would freeze, so you had like your house. And then I like a little house connected to it that was fully insulated, and a water truck would bring water in and you have these big, huge water tanks and that's all the water you could use. So,

Speaker 1:

And then, uh, after Alaska,

Speaker 2:

New Jersey, big change. Huge change. Right. I was in middle school and talk about culture shock, and we were this huge family moving back east and from Alaska, we were kind of the strange anomaly<laugh>. And two years later my parents said, we're going home. And my mom was from Western Colorado and her mom lived here and many aunties. And so we moved to Western

Speaker 1:

Colorado. And what year was

Speaker 2:

That? 1991.

Speaker 1:

Okay. And what did you think of Grand Junction when you arrived here? Were you excited?

Speaker 2:

Uh, you know, at that point we had moved a lot, so I was excited, but it was just kind of like, here we are moving again as a family. But I, I went, we moved right before my eighth grade year, and we moved to Fruita. Well, we lived on Orchard Mesa for a quick minute, and then my parents found a house. And, um, I, I loved getting roots. So, um, when all my friends had the wanderlust to leave, you know, especially after high school, they wanted to get out. Right. Gotta

Speaker 1:

Get outta

Speaker 2:

Here. I was kind of like, well, my granny's here, my aunties are here. It felt good to stay here. And so I made the choice then to go to Mesa. And back then it was Mesa State. Yeah. With C M U. So

Speaker 1:

Uhhuh,<affirmative>. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And, uh, your education was in what field?

Speaker 2:

My undergrad is in political science.

Speaker 1:

Political science and government. Yep. And you got a master's degree as well?

Speaker 2:

I did not till 2018 though. Uhhuh?

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>? Yeah. Okay. From Colorado Christian University,

Speaker 2:

Correct? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. I just thought it was time and my kids were old enough. And, um, at the time, Christie, my husband was in nursing school, which is a second career for him. Oh, wow. And we thought we'd wait, and then he said, listen, we're not doing anything. We're not traveling very much. We're not doing the things that we normally like to do. Why don't we just go for it? So he went to nursing school and I went to grad

Speaker 1:

School. Wow. Yeah.<laugh>. That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

And you know, it was really neat. Our kids were, our son was in middle school and our daughter was in elementary school, and they were so supportive and they, I mean, they would be like, mom, do you have homework?<laugh>, should you be doing this? It was so neat and really great. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Uhhuh<affirmative>. So when you went into PolySci, um, what did you, did you have any ideas about what you wanted to do for a career?

Speaker 2:

I thought I'd go to law school and then after graduation, um, Colorado Mesa University used to have this really amazing program, and I hope and pray they'll bring it back. Truly. And I've had conversations with John Marshall and Derek Wagner, and I think they're starting to have some conversations. So my senior year, I spent an entire semester at the state capital.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So it was my senior seminar. And from January to May when the legislative session was in session, I was paired with a state legislator. And really it was fun. Um, the year that I went was the first year that Colorado enacted, uh, term limits. And so it was one third of the legislature had turned over. So all these freshman legislators and, um, thank you. Year mix<laugh>. So, um, I worked for then Senator Ronk, it was his freshman year. And we still laugh when I see him. He said, sometimes I'd ask you to, like, we didn't know what we were doing, we were doing together, but it was really fun because everybody was so helpful. So he'd say, could you find out how we do this? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, and I'd go, and he said, sometimes you'd be gone like two, three hours, and then you'd come back and be like, okay, this is where we start. This is who we talk to, this is what we have to do. So it was really amazing to learn the process and really fun.

Speaker 1:

Oh gosh. I bet. So did you think about going into politics as well?

Speaker 2:

You know, a little bit, but, um, at that time I was just trying to find a job and pay off my student loan. You know, I was young and kind of like, what's next? And, um, a really great job to work for. The US House of Representatives came and it kind of fell in my lap. And so, um, I, I went to work for Scott McGinnis when he served in the house.

Speaker 1:

You're regional

Speaker 2:

Director? Um, no, at that time I was a caseworker. Okay. So I started at the very bottom and in Grand Junction, but I got to learn a lot about then the federal side of things.

Speaker 1:

So did you spend your time doing research or traveling with Scott or

Speaker 2:

A little bit, what was your Only on the Western slope, but mostly my job was to help constituents with federal agencies. So if they had a problem, say a Social security or an IRS or a Bureau of Land Management or a Forest Service, we would, we would work to be the liaison between the constituent and that federal agency. So it was really, um, I learned a lot.

Speaker 1:

I bet you did. You didn't learn a lot about the process mm-hmm.<affirmative> of and how things get done or not Right.

Speaker 2:

Get done. Both<laugh><laugh>. Yeah. And then I got married<laugh>. So, um, I left Scott's office and, um, went to work in finance and I wasn't very good at it. Christie

Speaker 1:

<laugh>,

Speaker 2:

I didn't really love it. Uhhuh<affirmative>. Um, but it was a great job. I was there for four years.

Speaker 1:

I mean, pencil pusher or, or, you know, it's not the first thing I think of when I think of Betsy Barrett. Like, you know, oh, sorry. Sitting in a room

Speaker 2:

With

Speaker 1:

A calculator.

Speaker 2:

<laugh>. I like the people. Yeah. I

Speaker 1:

Really do. You're definitely a people person. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Um, well, and, and what did that finance entail?

Speaker 2:

So I was an assistant for some brokers, so financial, um, brokers. And then they wanted me to stay and grow with them, and we wanted to start a family. So we made the choice when I, I was pregnant and went on maternity leave with the true like idea that I'd come back and my boss decided to retire. And so it was kind of an easy decision at that point to say, all right. And we made the choice that I'd be home for a few years. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, so good for you. Thanks. That's awesome. When my babies were little, I was home Yeah. With them. And we have two children, so mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>, but you probably always had a, a notion that at a, when they got to a certain age, you would start work again. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

<affirmative>, I did. I knew that I wanted to work. And then life, um, kind of happened 2008 hit and my husband was laid off and we joked whoever got a job first would, um, go back to work. And we both got jobs about the same time. So our son was in, in elementary school, and our daughter was about to start. So we decided that that was the time that we both would go back to work. And he, he determined he wanted to go back to school at that time as well. So, um, I, we both worked a year and just saved and saved so he could go back to school. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>.

Speaker 1:

So, um, when did you get started with community hospital then?

Speaker 2:

I've only been at community hospital for two years mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And, um, I didn't know that healthcare was for me, but it is so fascinating. And I talk about like drinking from the fire hose. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, uh, I, I was brought on to start their governmental affairs program and, um, do some grant writing for'em, which we've been able to do some really great projects because of that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And did you have experience with grant writing through some of the government work that you'd done before?

Speaker 2:

A little bit, but, um, I had worked at the Grand Junction area Chamber of Commerce for, um, four years doing their governmental relations. So that's was my biggest exposure to it. And then through, um, after that, I went to work for Senator Gardner when he was in the US Senate. And so that's probably my biggest exposure. I saw so much federal money and so much state money that was coming in and, and learned some of the processes to, to help not for profits, have access to that money and to those funds. So yeah, that's probably more where, where I learned about that. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And so your role as corporate affairs administrator, tell us at, at community hospital. Tell us kind of what that entails besides grant writing and you do a lot of community outreach.

Speaker 2:

I do. And, um, so I just joke and say that I say yes at work. They say, what do you do at work? I just say, yes,<laugh>. So, um, like I said, the governmental affairs is a big portion, and yesterday the state legislature went into session. So I joked that that's kind of my Super Bowl. It was fun to watch. And then the week before, um, you know, US House and Senate had gone in and we watched, um, everything with that mm-hmm.<affirmative> fascinating. So fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. I follow legislation both federally and statewide for, uh, that impacts hospitals and healthcare mm-hmm.<affirmative> and then workforce not, I mean, of course right now my lens is healthcare, but, um, there's so many pieces of legislation that impact employers that impact our, um, employees mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And so I follow a lot of that. And then, um, some of that is, we'll, we'll talk about it, um, or we will testify either for or against it. Um, I had the opportunity last year to testify on a great bill for employer-based childcare at the State House. There was a grant that they wanted to, um, continue to fund mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And we were a recipient at community hospital for some of those grant funds, which has allowed us to start to build an early childhood education childcare center.

Speaker 1:

That is so awesome. And I know childcare is, um, major issue for a lot of larger employers and honestly for the community as a whole. Right. Just finding enough space for the kids, for the parents that want to have their kids in childcare or need to have their kids in childcare. So what does it mean to you to be able to launch this project?

Speaker 2:

It's exciting because Mesa County did the childcare, 8,000 Mesa County did a study, and right now we have 4,000 slots, um, short. So we need 8,000 slots for childcare right now. And I think about how many moms wanna go back to work or, or have to work, um, or, or want to both. Um, I think about our employees and really during the pandemic, um, this came to a head 80% of our, our workforce at community hospital. And in that kind of follows, the national trend in healthcare are female. And so everybody else had the opportunity to work from home. Our employees did not mm-hmm.<affirmative>, and then schools were shut down, daycares were shut down, all of a sudden this crisis hit. And, um, we said at the hospital, we need to do something about it. So I love that it's going to recruit and retain really amazing employees. We have a nurse and she told me she has five children. And, um, she's amazing. She gets these like, such great feedback from, from our patients, and I just know that for her, she keeps saying like, I'm on the wait list, I'm on the wait list, I can't wait. But for her, it will make a huge difference to know her kids are well cared for, her children are taken care of with really high quality and on our campus. So it's amazing.

Speaker 1:

That's a really big deal too. I know. Just we don't have a lot of traffic or a lot of drive time here in the Grand Valley, but even if you're spending 20 minutes one way, that still can be an hour out of your day just dropping off and picking up. Right. And if you have kids with different ages at different locations, it could be a real nightmare. So kudos to community Hospital and what you're doing there for your folks. Um, you have a lot of other things going on at community hospital. We do too. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, I'm really excited about James Pulsford Cancer Wing. Is it The Wing Can Center,

Speaker 2:

Cancer Center General Cancer Center, mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So, um, we are doubling the size of the hospital in a Wow. Um, in a state-of-the-art cancer center. So, um, if you drive by community hospital right now, there's a lot of construction going on, but, um, we're really proud to be able to offer truly state-of-the-art care. It'll be the largest cancer center between Denver and Salt Lake. And, um, uh, that, that makes me feel good too, because cancer impacts everybody in some way or another, and that we'll be able to give care right here, um, when people have to travel when they're seeking care, especially like you're in this crisis mode, frankly. And then you have to leave the, your home, your support system and travel to get care. It, it's, it's not the best situation and we're proud to be able to help offset that. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>. And what is the, um, construction schedule? When do you hope to,

Speaker 2:

Um, 24 for that? Um, it, it's, um, the still beams are in, uh, actually so much of it's going up. The windows are coming on. So January of 24 is, is our hope to be able to open.

Speaker 1:

And the hospital itself was completed in what year?

Speaker 2:

Two, uh, 2016 is when they moved. So,

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's amazing. Less than 10 years later that you're doubling the size.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we think so too.

Speaker 1:

Um, talk a little bit about what makes Community Hospital unique. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, and I mean, it, it's, uh, very well respected and Chris Thomas is, uh, very well respected and I think a lot of people don't know, um, you know, your mission and, and what you're all about.

Speaker 2:

Sure. Thank you. Um, I love to work for Chris because he's really innovative and he, um, he's really forward thinking. So it's fun to work for somebody like that because, um, sometimes I say, uh, Hey, I have an idea. And he says, okay, go. And, um, which makes it fun because a lot of outside the box thinking, but thank you for the kind words. And Community Hospital is unique because we are one of the only independent hospitals left in Colorado. We're not part of a large system. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, we have a local operating board, so these are your neighbors. These are, um, people who live next door to us who live and work in Grand Junction, who own businesses, who are our managers right here. And so they understand the impact of having quality healthcare. I think that's what makes us different. And because we're smallish, we're, we're considered a tweener hospital, we're able to be nimble and, and look at the needs of our community and react quickly. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, I joke that we're not a bohemoth, you know, you don't have to take forever to turn the boat. We can say, uh, right now we're bringing in water here. Alright, go and, and take care of that right now. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So that's where I think, um, we're unique. And then we have really great providers, really great doctors, really great caregivers again, who live here. Um, most of our employees live right here or, you know, in the surrounding areas. So, uh, they wanna live in Grand Junction because, and surrounding areas because it's like where they wanna be, be, it's easy to recruit here because we get doctors here and, and providers

Speaker 1:

Here. Lifestyle is great. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, so it, there's no shortage of workforce for community hospital?

Speaker 2:

Well, nationally, there's nursing shortages and we felt that nationally there's, um, shortages and certain specialties and, and of course we've dealt with some of that, but we've been able to grow our product lines. Um, we have a new cardiology lab in cardio, um, I'm gonna say it wrong, but, um, in heart procedure center, I believe<laugh>, that catheterization, I never can say Right.

Speaker 1:

<laugh>. Yeah. That's a tough one.<laugh>.

Speaker 2:

That's where I'm not clinical. Misty<laugh>. No worries. There's really smarter people than me who are, um, so we have the new cath lab, um, that's just opened in the last two years. We're just growing these amazing products. So people have choice in the Grand Valley, and they have really, um, amazing providers who, who can care for them. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>,

Speaker 1:

Uh, obviously the pandemic, uh, was really tough on healthcare workers. What do you see, uh, with hospital staff and employees and doctors and nurses now? Uh, that, that the load has lessened, but it's still not gone? Right.

Speaker 2:

I mean, actually think the load didn't lessen. And, um, I'll speak from a personal viewpoint. I'm married to a nurse<laugh>, so, and an oncology nurse. Sadly, I think what happened is during the pandemic, we weren't super busy. Hospitals weren't, they were caring for really, really ill people. And sadly, you know, through C O V I D, we, we lost many people, um, as a society. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, we didn't know in the beginning, you know, what we were dealing with. And, um, I saw really innovative work being done on behalf of patients. And now we're seeing people who are very ill because, um, maybe they didn't go in for that mammogram, or maybe they didn't go in for their primary care. Part of it was fear. Part of it was, you know, maybe they didn't have the access that they had had previously. So we are seeing a big uptick, um, in hospitals, but we believe that we can care for them and, and are doing everything we can to, um, care for our patients and will continue to do so.

Speaker 1:

Do you think there's any major lessons learned here in the Grand Valley about, uh, the pandemic response? I mean, I, I think that the collaboration with all of the different organizations in the Valley was absolutely incredible and, and probably a model. We had a lot of models here for national, um, viewing. I mean, we had collaboration, we had the programs at C M U. What, what is community hospital preparing for? How are they, they preparing for, you know, what happens next?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head collaboration. We, as a small community came together and said, okay, in the beginning it was p p e, you know, the protective, um, and personal protective equipment. We worked together to make sure everybody had it who needed it, even before the national stockpiles were opened. And we came together and said, okay, we need a response together. So I think we learned that we can and should work together. And, um, there's been a lot of that. Our community comes together when, and not just community hospital, but our community comes together. And then I've seen a lot of work being done now on response. Um, future pandemic, sadly, or, and, and as we switch from pandemic to endemic. And then, um, as we've moved, uh, community hospital is doing a lot. Um, we have many committees and, um, collaboration internally and then externally to say, um, what would we do? Lessons learned, what did we learn and how can we get better? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So, um, I see that this, this

Speaker 1:

Is just likely not the last<laugh> kind of Oh. Situation. We'll have like this in our lifetimes, hopefully,

Speaker 2:

But hopefully I, yeah, I, I look back, my grandma lived to 103 and she, um, you know, lived through the Spanish flu, or do we call it that? The influenza mm-hmm.<affirmative>, um, just everything. And then, uh, it'll be interesting to see if our kids look back to us and say, we lived through the Covid 19 pandemic, or is this like, will more come? I don't know. And I'm a not an epidemiologist or an infectious disease doctor.<laugh>, like I don't have a crystal ball.<laugh>. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Um, our kids are similar ages mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So, uh, challenging through Covid, having kids in school. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, thankfully, I thought District 51 did a fantastic job of, again, collaborating with, uh, Mac County Health and the hospitals and just, you know, making a plan for the kids, but still difficult on kids and teenagers all the way around

Speaker 2:

Here, here. Um, we had two kind of experiences in our house,<laugh>, our son, um, when everything hit and they went into lockdown. He's a rigor based student, so had pretty good grades, and the district said, all right, whatever their grades are, they can keep if they like'em. So he started playing video games.

Speaker 1:

<laugh><laugh>,

Speaker 2:

He's

Speaker 1:

Like right on him. I'm good.<laugh>

Speaker 2:

Our daughter, on the other hand, um, sometimes she'll, I'm outing her, but she's struggled in school a little bit and work so hard, gets great grades, but works really hard. She loved it because she, um, took that time to really look at her grades. She liked the rigor of having to check in every morning and can get her assignments and be able to do them at her leisure on the computer and get them turned in and her grades went up. So we, we laugh that the pandemic worked differently for our children, but I would agree with you wholeheartedly. Um, we saw really good support from District 51.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Um, another, uh, note I have on my sheet, uh, about, uh, community hospital is a new Palisade clinic.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. We're so excited about this to

Speaker 1:

Partner with. Yeah. I really don't know much about this at all, so I'd love to learn some more.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thanks Christie. So, my understanding prior to me coming to work for a community hospital almost two years ago is the town of Palisade really said, we are a healthcare desert. And if you look community hospital, we have 28 and a quarter road, 28 and a half road in Patterson. We have quite a few clinics there. There's nothing then east of that in the, in the valley for healthcare. The, there used to be a clinic in Clifton, and my understanding is it just never stayed open. So Palisade came to community Hospital and said, um, you know, w would you like to do something? And there was really no location. So again, having Chris Thomas at our head, he started, um, driving around the city council and started looking and they saw this, um, area of the old high school and it needed to be remediated. And the, um, so we entered into a contract with the town and, um, they needed to remove some of that because of asbestos. Asbestos

Speaker 1:

And mm-hmm.<affirmative>.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And, um, were able to do through some grant funding and, um, congressionally directed spending, we're able to tear that down. So we've worked to fundraise with them, again through grants and others, and will continue to do so. Um, and April, uh, is it April next? No, April of 2023. Can we believe we're in 2023? I know, like, um, spring,

Speaker 1:

I'm not sure if I've written it yet, maybe typed it, but<laugh> yeah,

Speaker 2:

I was gonna say next year. And then I realized we're in this year, so, um, our clinic will open in spring, early summer of this year. And we just feel so proud, again to be able to offer that to our community. With the Palisade plunge coming in, there will be an urgent care there. There's going to be, um, uh, clinic where we, you can have your labs done, you can have, um, covid vaccines, everything right there, and X-rays, you know, some diagnostic tools and provide, um, we also see a really great partnership with our agriculture producers, with our migrant workforce and our farm workers and, um, are hoping to be able to help care for them as well.

Speaker 1:

That's wonderful. Wonderful. Um, there's a lot of, uh, vacant land out there still on the 24 Road corridor, um, but I know there's some other businesses that are coming into that area. Does, uh, community hospital have more plans to expand or future dreams and hopes out in that

Speaker 2:

Area? I think we always have future dreams and hopes. Um, I, I look at our hundred slot childcare center and, um, really think we could go to two or even three fairly quickly. Yeah. And, um, I'd love to see us partner with, with businesses who are coming in and say, do your employees need this? And we've had many businesses reach out to us in that area as that corridor continues to grow. And, and really, as you can imagine, I see a lot of growth. Um, again, no crystal ball, but, um, just a lot of growth coming into that area. So, um, that'd be my, my next project.<laugh><laugh>. And then we always look at some workforce housing, and that's something that we're starting to have just small discussions on and say, who's our right partners for that? And, um, how do we help provide housing for our workers?

Speaker 1:

Another big topic for all the stakeholders in town, right? Yeah. Everybody needs affordable housing. And, and, and thankfully, you know, we in the real estate business are excited that the, the prices have started to come down a little bit because they were, they got really inflated. And I think, um, a little settling of the market is gonna be good for people. Good.

Speaker 2:

So good. Yeah. And attainable, you know, we talk about affordable, but, um, I think if you look at each area that's different. So how do we, um, make it attainable for our employees? And again, that's a retention and recruitment tool.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so what about, um, volunteer opportunities at community hospital? I mean, we, we like to promote nonprofits around our, around the Christie Reese group here and, and talk about what opportunities there are for people to come and help out at the hospital. Are there any

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And thanks. Um, we appreciate, um, last year our early childhood education center, some of your circle grant funds, so thank you and thanks. I don't know who nominated us, but I give a big shout out and say thank you for that. Yeah. Um, we have a volunteer coordinator and she is just really dynamic. So there are many different opportunities for volunteerism at community hospital. Some people come in and, um, they actually physically, um, volunteer and they, they take our patients and if you're checking in, they'll walk you to your room or to, um, wherever you need to go for a procedure. Then we have some right now who, um, work really kind of some neat things. We have a social responsibility council and they take, um, a lot of the fabric that comes in when I, I, I hope I'm explaining it right, Stephanie, I hope I'm getting this right.<laugh>, Um, when sterile equipment comes in, um, that fabric can't be used, but they, um, take it, recycle it, and have been sewing bags mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And so, um, I mean, it's perfectly comfortable to use outside, but we can't use it in a clinical setting. Again, it's that kind of blue cloth that you see. And so we have volunteers who, um, are really making it into reusable and washable bags. So there's really always volunteer. Um, if, if you could think of it, we probably could find a spot for you. Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. So Chris, um, Christina Odell is our volunteer coordinator and she's amazing. Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Cuz I know a lot of people, um, you know, we are getting such a retirement community here and I think there's a lot of people that wanna help older people or, or people that have suffered with all kinds of maladies and, you know, maybe hospital setting is a good way to, for them to get involved.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. We'd appreciate that. I know through Covid we had to shut some of that down, but it's really starting to open and thank goodness the Oncology Center and Cancer Center opening, there will be opportunities to sit with people receiving chemo and, um, just all kinds of opportunities.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Lots of people that need someone by their side mm-hmm.<affirmative> during those kind of things. Yep. What else can you share with us about community hospital or your job or,

Speaker 2:

Oh, thanks. Your life. Um, oh, um, Christie, I love, um, right now with the Early Childhood Education Center, um, we were able to apply with the state of Colorado and we received the, what's called the Childcare Contribution Tax credit, the Colorado Childcare Contribution Tax Credit, say it five times Fast and it's<laugh>. Um, what that is, is a really great opportunity that if you, um, if an individual or a business donates to the Early Childhood Education Center Adventure Academy, um, we were able to name the, the Road behind, um, community Hospital. It's a, it's a private road, and we put it out to our employees and did a big, kind of a fun thing to name it and it's Adventure Lane because we figured the emergency room<laugh> access is there. So if you're on an adventure and need to come see us, we're gonna take great care of you. And now Adventure Academy, our childcare center is right on the other side of it. So Adventure Academy, um, was named or was named for that, but, um, it's 50% tax credit, so up to, um, a hundred thousand dollars in a year. And, um, that's the number one biggest tax credit the state of Colorado gives. And we had to apply and go through a process and we were chosen to receive that for childcare. And so that C C C C tax credit credits, um, is something really amazing and can be used, you know, for, um, of course philanthropic, but sometimes people need a tax credit and, um, a financial solution. So we're happy about that. Right? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>, so

Speaker 1:

Get in touch with somebody at Community Hospital to learn more.

Speaker 2:

They can call me, they can call the foundation. Yeah. And, um,

Speaker 1:

Sure. There's lots of information online too, correct?

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm.<affirmative> mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>, that's a great thing.

Speaker 2:

And, um, we'll be working hard at the state legislature this year that, um, tax credit expires at the end of 2023. But, um, our own Janice Rich, um, has, is carrying it. And, um, former county commissioner Rose Puglisi is serving from El Paso County in the State House. She's one of the sponsors, Uhhuh<affirmative>, um, so bipartisan, um, through the state legislature. And we believe it'll be extended past 2023.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. And, and you all do a few fundraisers throughout the year. Um, do I remember that, um, the, the bike ride? Did that have

Speaker 2:

To be, my understanding is that went away and went away. I don't know why

Speaker 1:

Was doing that with a curled lip. Did it?<laugh>? Do I

Speaker 2:

Remember? It went away. There's been some discussion. There was a time to bring it back and I'll, I'll tell you honestly, I don't know the details, um, of why, though I've ridden it myself, um, in the past. And my husband and I like to ride bikes, and so that was something fun. But, um, we have an amazing gala each year, and that's our largest fundraiser. And then we do, um, some really fun things, a golf tournament, and then, um, our foundation does whiskey poles and just different outside of the box, um, fundraisers. So we are always looking and, um, we're trying to continue to fundraise for Adventure Academy and, um, be able to offset the cost of that for our employees and for the community slots. And then, um, the Cancer center, of course, just Palisade, um, there's hospitals as a not-for-profit, always need funds to help our, our patients. We have some really great funds for those who travel, um, for care and, um, great local partnerships with some of the hotels that we're able to give them reduced rates when they come to seek treatment and their families and just, um, sometimes they need a gas card or, um, and, and that's through our foundation and, um, just the work of our community. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

<affirmative>, well, I, I've been to community hospital a couple times. I had a mammogram there recently and, um, yes, I stay up on that Good job. And it was, um, smooth process and it made it really easy and painless.

Speaker 2:

Oh good. I'd love to hear that. Thank you. It was really good and good job experience staying on top of it.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Yeah. We all have to get all those tests done all the time, don't we? Mm-hmm.<affirmative>. And so, um, wanna say big thank you to you and everybody at Community Hospital for being such a big leader in the community and, and, uh, just being a shining example of collaboration and hard work and, and community love. Thanks

Speaker 2:

Christie.

Speaker 1:

It's

Speaker 2:

Really cool. Thanks for having us. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

Yeah. If there's anything else you'd like to share.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think, um, just palisade the cancer center, the childcare, and um, I'm sure the next time we talk we'll have something else. Yeah. That's the fun thing.

Speaker 1:

I can imagine. We should just do this every year and see what's going on. It's

Speaker 2:

A deal. Okay. It's a deal. So thanks. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

This has been Betsy Bear with Community Hospital and thanks so much for joining us. Uh, we will see you next time, listeners and, uh, viewers on the Full Circle podcast. Thanks for joining us. Bye. Thanks for listening. This is Christie Reese signing out from the Full Circle Podcast.