Taking action on health care | AspenTimes.com

Taking action on health care

“High Country, High Cost,” the six-part series by William Scanlon that recently ran in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and The Aspen Times, is compelling reading.

The first five parts shine light in the many dark corners of our multifaceted health care conundrum. They reveal a clear view of what’s going on and set the stage for a surprising summary in part six, “Some find partial solutions to the high costs of health care.”

“Better health and lower costs in the Roaring Fork Valley; well done, Valley Health Alliance” might have been a better title. Have you ever read “better health, lower total health care cost and flat and lower health care insurance premiums” anywhere? If the Valley Health Alliance made that happen, then praise and credit for those results are well earned.

I believe in the old practice of giving credit where credit is due, so here goes: 10 percent to those organizations and role players identified in the series who are compensated for their health care responsibilities; 50 percent to Kathleen Killion, Valley Health Alliance’s executive director, who used her intellect, insights, skills and knowledge to be the driving force which created important strategic relationships, and coaxed all the critical moving parts of this devilish puzzle into place, producing amazing local outcomes; 30 percent (some paid forward) to those who have helped produce positive early Valley Health Alliance outcomes and who will now help others benefit from healthier living (using health care savings for things that make the valley such a wonderful place to live) by spreading the word about the better local health care practices (proven by the Valley Health Alliance); and 10 percent to William Scanlon for his take on our local situation that may help guide our personal health care actions in the future.

Knowing the “developmental phase” of the Valley Health Alliance’s life-cycle is a success; it’s time to start sharing the resulting benefits. Maybe consider expanding Valley Health Alliance’s membership in the Roaring Fork Valley; helping others replicate the concept in other similar communities; having the Aspen Skiing Co. use their Valley Health Alliance experience to improve the micro-economies in those places where future resort assets may be acquired.

Gary Gardner

El Jebel