In December 2022 Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc. and Southeast Health Group announced they would be merging the two entities, in order to better serve their combined service areas in Southern Colorado. Since the announcement, staff have officially moved in to the Valley-Wide system, and the rebrand has begun.
“Our teams have really shown their commitment to their work and our patients over the last several weeks,” said Dr. Jania Arnoldi, President/ Chief Executive Officer of Valley-Wide. “Bringing together the two organizations has been a big lift for a lot of people, we brought on 144 employees in March, which is a 31% increase in staff. That was a huge lift for our Human Resources team, our Finance team, our Facilities team and so many others, who all really embraced the change and growth. It’s been very inspiring to see the teams combine and work so well together.”
Arnoldi explained that there is still a lot of work to do, including combining electronic health systems and updating policies and procedures, among other details, but Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has approved Valley-Wide to continue offering behavioral health services at all former SHG sites, including Springfield, Lamar and Eads, which are new territories to the company.
Dr. JC Carrica, Vice President and Chief Healthcare Innovation and Strategy Officer further explained the importance of the merger, “Expansion is a trend we have seen nation-wide in healthcare. With workforce shortages across the nation, we are all seeking creative ways to serve more people with fewer providers. Through combining forces, we give ourselves more stability, while keeping leadership and governing boards of Directors right here in the communities we serve.”
Carrica further explained that all 16 counties now served by Valley-Wide are considered either rural or frontier based on their population. The Board of Directors who oversee the non-profit company all live within those communities. Most board members are also consumers of Valley-Wide services and can provide guidance and feedback from the standpoint of a patient.
The full merger is expected to be completed in June of this year, though changes will likely continue for a while as Valley-Wide continues to grow the fully-integrated system.
“This expansion prioritizes rural and frontier communities, now and in the long-run,” Arnoldi said. “We are also not done. We will continue to seek ways to improve, grow, and expand in any way that is beneficial to our communities and patients.”
Further news about the merger, including upcoming events, all press releases, and Frequently Asked Questions can be found at Valley-WideHealth.org under the tab labeled “Merger”.
Questions about the merger can be directed to either Krista Martinez, Director of Executive Support (Alamosa), MartinezK@valley-widehealth.org, 719-587-1010 or Jennifer Pollmiller, Director of Marketing and Communications (La Junta), PollmillerJ@Valley-WideHealth.org, 719-363-1595.
About Valley-Wide Health Systems: Valley-Wide Health Systems (Valley-Wide) is committed to providing, high-quality, safe, effective and integrated health care services in a respectful and inclusive manner for all with special consideration for medically underserved populations. Valley-Wide, a Community Health Center (CHC), is a private non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation governed by a volunteer community board. Valley-Wide has sixteen primary health care delivery sites strategically located throughout multiple rural counties in Southern Colorado. These full-service clinics are complemented by ten dental clinics, four physical therapy clinics, nine outpatient behavioral health clinics, three peer support locations, two vocational programs and numerous ancillary health services to address routine and/or complex needs of the patient populations and communities served.
Along with multiple outreach programs, Valley-Wide also oversees an Agricultural Worker Health Service Program that provides vouchers to patients in areas of the state that do not house CHCs.
Valley-Wide serves all ages through a family practice focus approach. Emphasis is placed on assisting the patient, reducing barriers such as cost, culture, language, literacy, and transportation that may hinder use of appropriate health care services.