St. Louis consultant hired to lead Aspen-area Valley Health Alliance |

St. Louis consultant hired to lead Aspen-area Valley Health Alliance

Staff report
Kathleen Killion

A health care consultant who was recognized by a St. Louis business publication on a list of that city’s most influential women has been hired to lead the Valley Health Alliance.

Kathleen Killion has earned local, state and national recognition for employee-wellness programs, Aspen Valley Hospital said in a statement Tuesday. She will move to Aspen soon and is expected to begin serving as executive director of the local alliance by late July.

Created in the spring of 2012, the Valley Health Alliance consists of the area’s five largest self-insured employers: Pitkin County government, city of Aspen government, the Aspen School District, Aspen Skiing Co. and the hospital. Collectively, the entities represent about 4,300 workers.

The alliance seeks to help the five employers in finding better ways to manage the rising cost of health insurance.

“Killion will lead the organization’s efforts to achieve the ‘triple aim’ — improve population health, enhance quality health care and reduce health care costs,” the hospital statement said.

Killion has 30 years of experience in the health care industry. She is founder of KKillion Solutions, a consulting firm focused on large-scale health-management initiatives.

“In addition to a wealth of relevant experience, Kathleen is a high-energy person with a strategic approach to the job,” hospital CEO Dan Bonk said. “She presented the interview team with 30- 60- and 90-day plans. We were impressed with the amount of homework she did and with her grasp of (the alliance) and its mission.”

The partners who make up the Valley Health Alliance have worked together to create a pilot project to test for the most effective ways to control costs and support quality sustainable health care in the valley, the hospital statement said. Using aggregate claims data from the five employers’ health plans, the alliance has identified the leading controllable health issues and is working on evidence-based practices to prevent and treat them in a cost-effective way.

For example, musculoskeletal pain was identified as a leading problem. To help address the issue, Aspen Valley Hospital physicians developed and approved an evidence-based back-pain protocol.

Now they are working on protocols for depression screening, drug and alcohol abuse and head trauma — conditions that also can result in high costs if not identified and managed in a standardized fashion, the hospital said.

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