Partnerships key in achieving health care goals

Ashley Thurow

The Grand Valley is full of examples of strong partnerships. The spirit of collaboration that pulses through the veins of this community is not only special, but also effective and promotes innovation.  

Monument Health is proud to be a part of many local collaborative and innovative efforts. Our superpower is collaboration. Without it, we couldn’t accomplish our goals. Our team is small, but functions as a convener, pulling together hundreds of health care providers across the valley, partnering with health insurance plans and forging partnerships with local employers and other organizations.  Our goal is to bring people together to accomplish our threefold mission — high quality health care, improved outcomes and, ultimately, lower costs.

One of our partnerships that recently deepened involves Mesa County School District 51. Like many employers across the country, D51 experienced double-digit increases in health care costs in recent years. These costs exceeded budget, and D51 administrators and board members knew a change could be needed. Late last spring, D51 announced it was going to accept bids for its health insurance network, specifically seeking competitive pricing, care coordination and wellness services as well as  long-term partnership.  

In August, the Mesa County Valley School District 51 Board of Education voted unanimously to support a bid from Monument Health.

It was a humbling moment for us. The ability to assist D51 speaks to so many dimensions of our work and aligns with our mission. Education constitutes a core social determinant of health. We know that by supporting our educators, we support the education of our children.  Higher educational outcomes are linked to so many key building blocks of our society — most notably economics and health. Partnering to improve the health and well-being
of educators will push ripple effects across our community for years to come.

Some of the effects will be more immediate. With the savings Monument Health offers, it’s expected D51will balance its budget within the first year. Employees will experience health insurance premium relief — in many cases more than $3,500 a year. Paying less for health insurance effectively results in a pay increase.

The partnership of our two organizations begins now.  Our next step will be assisting D51 with getting the word out about these new benefits and encouraging employees to access them. Monument Health has scheduled 13 events in October in which D51 employees can come and ask questions and enroll for benefits. We will be joined by representatives from our network of doctors and providers who can answer questions and facilitate new patient appointments.

We’re also engaged with D51 in a strategic planning effort, specifically supporting the pillar of prepared and supported staff. While Monument Health is here to help employees who require medical care, we’re also excited to rejuvenate a staff wellness effort focusing on prevention and well-being. The best kind of health care is the kind you don’t need to access in the first place.

We’re thrilled about this partnership and look forward to engaging with D51 to pursue innovations in health care and wellness. We believe this deep level of collaboration constitutes a winning formula for creating meaningful, long-term community partnerships centered around shared goals for high-quality health care, improved outcomes and lower costs.