Peak Vista Community Health Centers is the formal name, even though it’s more commonly referred to as simply Peak Vista. Yet, it’s important to note the organization’s middle name: community.
“We are community run, community located,” said Pam McManus, president and chief executive officer. “We’re all about the community.”
Last year more than 92,000 people, of all ages, received services in the form of medical, dental, behavioral, pharmaceutical and educational programs at Peak Vista’s 26 outpatient facilities throughout the region. Within those broader areas are specialties such as pediatrics, wellness, pain management, and audiology and lab services, among others. Started in 1971 with an all-volunteer staff serving patients two nights a week, Peak Vista now has just under 900 employees. It’s projected that it will serve more than 94,000 people in 2018.
McManus has been with Peak Vista for more than 26 years and has been CEO for more than six years.
She cited three principles that have contributed to Peak Vista’s expanding role. “We have patients that trust us with their care; partners that help us provide that care; and employees who not only have the technical skills but are mission driven to make a difference in our community.”
Peak Vista has made a positive impact in Kathleen Buoniconti’s life. For 13 years she wasn’t able to properly chew her food because her teeth were in such poor condition, as a side effect of medication she was on; then she learned about Peak Vista Community Health Centers.
“I couldn’t afford to pay for fillings. My teeth were like sand breaking off in my mouth,” she said. “I’m one of those fall-between-the-cracks people. I didn’t make enough money and I thought I didn’t qualify for anything.”
Although she continues to work part time, Buoniconti is on a fixed income and had nothing extra for dental care. “Peak Vista has all the connections. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I have such a limited income, I don’t have any creative financing options,” she said. “I’ve always believed in the if-you-don’t-work-you-don’t-eat program.”
Paul Lombardi, with Peak Vista’s Dental Health Center, provided the dental care Buoniconti needed in 2017.
“My teeth now are a piece of jewelry, I’m serious,” she said. “The thing with Dr. Lombardi is he is so kind, so wonderful and makes you feel like you’re not some poor person off the street.”
In addition to the health attributes associated with the new condition of her teeth, Buoniconti said there are other benefits. “I cannot tell you what it does for my own self-esteem.”
She credits the Senior Center of Colorado Springs for pointing her in Peak Vista’s direction. “A lot of people don’t know what’s available and now I can tell them about Peak Vista.”
McManus echoed Buoniconti’s enthusiasm for the Senior Center. “It has been excellent in getting the word out,” she said. “It’s one of many of our great partners. We are grateful to our community partners for sharing what we do.”
Among its numerous partners are school districts, pharmacies, individuals, other nonprofits and many more.
McManus acknowledged that health care is a complex issue and must be tailored to the individual.
“One of the (many) challenges is the changing health care environment,” McManus said. “With all of those changes we need to be proactive to be sure we are meeting the needs of our patients. Peak Vista has been working very hard to be part of the solution.”