Sheridan Health Services, in cooperation with the University of Colorado College of Nursing, on Wednesday celebrated the opening of two new wings designed to provide increased services to low-income families.
“Led by advanced practice nurses and using an integrated care model, Sheridan addresses barriers to health care for individuals who are under-insured and uninsured,” said Erica Schwartz, CEO, Sheridan Health Services. “Through partnerships with local organizations, we are able to offer services to individuals who would not otherwise be able to pay for specialty care, such as chronic pain and dental care – and recently through a pilot program, we have been able to provide psychiatric consultations via telehealth.”
Sheridan Health Services, working with the CU College of Nursing, is a nurse-managed clinic that promotes wellness and access to cost-effective, comprehensive healthcare to families in Sheridan and surrounding communities.
“Community health care centers work because they care for individuals at the neighborhood level where national policy and social realities meet,” said Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for clinical and community affairs at the College of Nursing. “Caring, compassion, and connectedness are fundamental assets within a community and intertwined into our approach to healthcare delivery – and integral to our curriculum at the College. Providers at the clinic treat the whole family, not as separate individuals but as a unit whose members share an environment of health risks and health opportunities.”
Since Sheridan Health Services expanded to the Fort Logan Campus in March 2011, the facility has grown from one advanced practice nurse practitioner to 35 employees and has served approximately 7,500 patients through 24,000 visits. This new expansion adds 12 exam rooms and seven behavioral health meeting rooms.
“Each year we continue to expand in scope and volume,” Schwartz said. “The physical expansion was necessary to accommodate this growth and optimize the health and wellness of our community. And with over 80 percent of the individuals in the service area living under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, we know that there the need is there.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the nurse practitioner – an advanced practice profession first started at University of Colorado – who are prepared by education and certification to assess, diagnose, and manage patient problems, order tests, and prescribe medications. In an increasingly complex health care industry, advanced practice nurses are playing a vital role in delivering cost-effective care and increased access for patients and their families – especially low-income individuals.