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County health systems successful thanks to quality physician-patient relationships

By: Theresa Woods, El Paso County Medical Society
March 30, 2015 Updated: March 30, 2015 at 8:28 am
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photo - Downtown Colorado Springs at twilight
Downtown Colorado Springs at twilight 

Relationships are at the core of professional medicine – as important a factor in quality health care as appropriate and timely treatment.

“Physician-patient relationship will always be paramount in the provision of health care,” said David Richman, MD, owner of and physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at North Springs Physical Medicine, 325 S. Parkside Drive. “We have an opportunity to work with the system to keep as much of the care between the physician and the patient as possible.” Dr. Richman also serves as President of the El Paso County Medical Society (EPCMS).

The first provision of the national healthcare reform law to go into effect in 2010 was the Patient Bill of Rights, which guarantees patients have a right to choose a physician. Staying abreast of healthcare changes and ensuring medicine is physician and patient driven are top priorities for EPCMS. “A coordinated, organized, team approach to health care is necessary today,” said Mike Ware, CEO of the EPCMS. “We work to establish these relationships because quality health care begins with a physician as the head of the healthcare team. We have an engaged and connected medical community that addresses and adapts the healthcare delivery system to one that is best for physicians and patients.”

As community values remain at the forefront and physicians work together with local healthcare stakeholders, the healthcare delivery system reforms to provide the best care possible and use local dollars efficiently for citizens of the Pikes Peak region. “We do come together and talk,” Richman said. “It’s important for the physicians and the patients to know that we all have ongoing dialogues about healthcare delivery in our community.”

In addition to private practice primary care and specialty physicians, Colorado Springs Health Partners and Mountain View Medical Group, the two largest medical groups in the city, provide healthcare services to help meet the community’s needs, along with the education systems. University of Colorado Health, which entered into a long-term lease for Memorial Hospital in 2012, has steadily invested resources and personnel to improve the facility and expand the services offered. “We must produce new physicians who always put the patient first,” said Erik Wallace, MD, FACP, Associate Dean for the Colorado Springs Branch with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Understanding better what patients think, feel, and experience is an essential step in the right direction.”

There is no question the healthcare system in El Paso County is growing. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, part of Centura Health, was named one of "America's 50 Best Hospitals" annually from 2008-2015 by Healthgrades, and Pikes Peak Regional Hospital opened in 2007 to serve the needs of Woodland Park and the surrounding area. “Colorado Springs and El Paso County are large enough to house some of the best and brightest physicians and allied health professionals in the state,” Richman said. “People have access to all the different physicians and specialty services here. For a city our size, we have outstanding medical care.”

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