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Long time coming

VNA receives $187,000 grant from the Colorado Trust

Over the next 2 1/2 years, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will receive $187,500 for improvements in health care.

The Colorado Trust has given the VNA a grant for $75,000 a year to address problems in health access in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco and Jackson counties.

Suzi Mariano, VNA public information coordinator, said the planning for the grant was a long time in the making.

Mariano said the Colorado Trust funded a six-month planning period to write the grant, but representatives from Moffat and Routt counties were meeting well before that.

Carrie Godes, VNA’s director of community care, said when representatives from Moffat and Routt counties got together, she realized that health care access was a valley-wide problem.

“It became something far bigger than just us,” Godes said. “The problem is there is no way to get affordable health care.”

When the four counties got together, there were a lot of things to be worked out.

“We got together in Hayden and started talking about needs,” Godes said. “We had a huge list of priorities.”

After working together for six months, the group submitted a four-point plan to the Colorado Trust.

Mariano said the group wants to make a map of the four counties, determining where services are available and where needs aren’t being met.

“We may have a lot of services in one area but they may not be the right services,” she said. “We are also going to develop an interactive Web site with a list of providers and services. People don’t really realize what services are out there.”

The VNA also wants to work on community outreach programs to target specific issues.

A technology team that can assess what technology is available and what is needed was also included in the plan.

Mariano said technology improvements are necessary to reach rural areas and break down isolation barriers.

Godes agreed that getting health care to rural areas is a problem the VNA would like to solve.

“We are talking about having someone who can travel and hit some of these areas,” Godes said.

She added that the VNA would also like to see some improvements in communication technology as well.

“Even if we can’t be on site, we should still be able to help,” she said.”

As for Craig and Moffat County, Godes said she had specific plans.

“Our main goal is to beef up the number of hours the care clinic is open,” she said. “Specifically for Craig, I would like to see more availability of services. I hope to see that people are able to get preventative health care when they need it.”

Mariano said at the end of the 2 1/2 years, the VNA can apply for another grant, but right now they have a big project on their hands.

Godes said the next step for the VNA is to hire a consultant to get the project on track.

“That is the biggest step because this is such a huge project,” Godes said.

Dominic Graziano can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or dgraziano@craigdailypress.com.