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Nurses' post by Sheri Reed
Nurses wear a lot of different hats, but some of the most compassionate nurses I know that work in long term care and secured memory unit. In a rural area, most likely you have grown up knowing most of the residents and their families and the ones that we don’t know we get to know very well after a little while and they and their families become like family to us, there are those whose family lives a long way away so you become their family quickly as you visit with them they tell you when they hurt, are sad, lonely, wanting a hug, need a smile or just someone to sit and hold their hand when they are dying and the family has not gotten here yet, or they have no family left and we step in as family for them. Being a nurse working with the elderly is very rewarding but is also very hard on your heart. Nurses pass medications, assess the residents when they have fallen or are sick and with the help of our CNAs, they are the eyes and ears for the providers and as stated before they become the sons/daughters/grandchild of the residents they care for. We are not only here to take care of these residents, but we are here for the families. They listen when the families call and need to express their concerns about their family members but also how they are feeling being so far away. As a nurse that has been with SECHD for almost 22 years, it always makes my day to be able to walk in the long-term care/secured memory unit and have a resident give you a smile or hold their arms out for a hug, or they just want to visit with you. Working in long term care/secured memory unit there is always something new that we learn about our residents and that is always rewarding for us all.

Post by Staci Bishop, Clinic Manager and provider.

When people in my generation think of nurses, normally they think of the white dress, the white cap with a little tray of medicine to give their patients.
The role of nurse has changed and evolved so much over the last few decades. My grandmother (June) used to say that back when she was in nurse training, the doctors gave shots and the nurses back then were more like CNAs with patient care. Boy have things changed a lot!
As healthcare has evolved, with more regulations and more tasks being required, healthcare providers have come to rely on our nursing staff every single day. Most people know in the clinic, if you want something done-you ask the nurses (and by nurses I mean the RNs, LPNs, CNAs and Mas) they truly run the show in the clinic. Most people who visit the clinic know the nurses room them, get vital signs and field the phone calls with questions. There is so much more going on behind the scenes than most realize. Nurses will spend hours on the phone getting a medication, procedure or imaging study approved so that the patient gets the care they need. They help our patients navigate getting to specialists-from the referral in a town that works for them- to finding resources for the travel itself. They will spend time on the phone reassuring patients about medications, treatments, diagnosis and so many other things-I couldn’t begin to list them all.
The one thing that I see day to day from the clinic nurses is compassion. Often, the clinic is where patients initially get the news they have an unexpected and often scary diagnosis. Since we live in such a remote area, arranging care for the “next steps” for patients is critical and usually needs to be done quickly. Every single time something like this comes up, you can thank the clinic nurses for getting you or your loved one to the place they need to go.
I have been blessed over the years to work with some of the most amazing nurses-and I know for a fact, the providers in our clinic would be absolutely lost without them!

Heroes of Happiness recently took part in World Password Day. Employees had the opportunity to submit an answer to this question, "What are ways you keep our facilities network safe?" We asked the I.T. Department to help us! They were our judges and provided some information regarding the importance of secure passwords. Here are the answers we received from employees:

1. I keep our facility’s network safe by changing passwords timely, using at least a 10 mixed character password. All my passwords consist of upper-and- lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
• Open suspicious attachments
• Log in to my personal accounts from my work computer
• Use free WiFi on my personal device (especially to check work emails.)
• Use flash drives
• Download software
• Share my password
• Use the same password for my desktop than I use anywhere else, for anything
      I DO
• Keep up on my computer updates
• Keepy my desk clean (I really do try)
• Use the phish alert button
• Use passwords that contain upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters
• Keep up on my KnowBe4 trainings (I usually enjoy them)
• Share the importance of confidentiality of passwords with new contracts and employees
• Screenshot any suspicious emails or notification and send them to I.T.
3. I keep our network safe by:
• Changing passwords often
• Never use the same password
• Use a password that has symbols, letters, and numbers
• Report phishing emails
• Call IT when I don’t know!
• I have also recently learned to never go on a sponsored website
• 4. Have a strong password
• 5. Limit access to the system
• 6. Reset your password regularly and watch what sites you get you
• 7. Do you Knowbe4s and don’t fish with phish!

• Congratulations, Rheannon Hendricks! She was our winner and received a big foot tumbler.
• All of these are great reminders to keep our network safe. Thank you all for participating.

Nurse's Week is May 6-12. If you ask GOOGLE to define a rural nurse the answer is along the lines of: Rural RNs have less nursing education, are less likely to work in hospitals, and are more likely to work full-time and in public/community health than urban RNs. At first, reading Googles definition of a rural nurse left me a bit irritated, left me with a bad taste in my mouth and confirmed that one simply cannot trust everything all mighty Google tells us! Fun fact; of the 12 fulltime and 2 PRN Registered Nurses and that make up the core nursing staff at SECH 6 have their bachelor’s in Nursing and 1 have a Master’s degree in Nursing, the rest of the RN’s without the “advanced” education have an average of 10+ years in the field of nursing and 3 with 20+ years. I think Google had better reevaluate the roles of a rural nurse. Little does Google know but us rural BC nurses with less education are actually rockstars who wear many hats throughout the day depending on what or who decides to walk, run or roll through the doors. We can go from leisurely convincing the most stubborn patient that it is important to get up and walk after recovering from a surgery or acute illness one minute to setting up the crash cart, accessing an IV site to give lifesaving medications all while our team jumps into action setting up chest tubes, getting and maintaining an airway, doing chest compressions, hanging the blood and anything else that is needed. Us nurses call this “organized chaos” caught up in the moment. If you ask us, we all have a different word or term we call these “moments,” some are more colorful words than others. Truth be told us Baca County nurses have an advantage over them city nurses, who often only work in a certain “field” of nursing, usually of their liking/choosing leaving the other areas untouched and unknown unless it’s a choice to venture into another field. In the city you have many choices of specialty areas such as Cardiac nurses, Oncology nurses, Rehab nurses, Skilled Nursing nurses, Pediatric nurses, ICU nurses, Surgery nurses, Aesthetic nurses, Infusion get the picture! We don’t get that option down here in rural America. In other words, you better be willing to be a Cardiac Nurse and in an instant switch over to a Pediatric Nurse when a 1 year old is brought in with 103 fever, no tears, barky cough and low oxygen. After another hour rolls by you hopefully have the child and heart patient stabilized because the ambulance is bringing in several victims from a car crash and you just became a Trauma Nurse. We wear many hats in rural America and while Google will tell you that Rural RN’s have less education, I’d argue to say us rural nurses are much more well-rounded and moldable into whatever situational nurse you need us to be, we have to know it all or at least be willing to learn it all. We also have each other’s backs, what is a weak area for one is a strong area for another and vice versa so we complement each other well. Rural Nursing isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. Many of us not only wear multiple hats inside the facility but also outside the facility. Many of us have livestock that we actively participate in the raising of alongside our spouses, have young children or grandchildren to raise up right while bouncing from one extracurricular activity to the next. We are part of what makes our small rural community special. Our patients are also our neighbors, church pastors, past teachers, friends of our children’s, moms and dads. We are all connected by something or someone and more often than not related somehow by either marriage or down the gene pool. When we take care of our patients we put our whole heart into it, often silently grieving when things don’t go the way we wished or hoped for. Baca County nurses are the best! Happy Nurses Week 2024!


Southeast Colorado Hospital District mission is to focus on the well-being of the people we serve. Southeast Colorado Hospital District recognizes that each one of us comes from a different background(s). Our goal is to ensure that each member in our service area receives quality care by eliminating health inequities and improving health outcomes. Together, we can achieve and sustain the health of the population of our service area.

La misión del Distrito Hospital de Sureste Colorado es enfocarse en el bienestar de las personas que servimos. El Distrito Hospital de Sudeste de Colorado reconoce que cada uno de nosotros proviene de un entorno diferente. Nuestro objetivo es garantizar que cada miembro de nuestra área de servicio reciba atención de calidad mediante la eliminación de las desigualdades en la salud y la mejora de los resultados de salud. Juntos, podemos lograr y mantener la salud de la población de nuestra área de servicio.

Change Healthcare Cyberattack
Thank you for your patience! Thousands of hospitals, including ours, have been affected by the Feb. 21, 2024, Change Healthcare Cyberattack. As the crisis continues, we continue to work with our partner organizations to have the smallest impact on Southeast Colorado Hospital District.
What Happened
On Feb. 21, Change Healthcare, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, was the victim of a significant cyberattack on the U.S. healthcare system. Change Healthcare is the predominant source of more than 100 critical functions that keep health care systems operating. Among them, Change Healthcare manages the clinical criteria used to authorize a substantial portion of patient care and coverage, processes billions of claims, supports clinical information exchange, and processes drug prescriptions.
Impact to Hospitals, Health Systems, Communities and Patients
This unprecedented attack has already imposed significant consequences on patients, hospitals, health systems and other providers.
● Some patients have struggled to obtain prescriptions or have faced delays in scheduling care or receiving and paying bills.
● Hospitals, health systems and other providers are experiencing extraordinary reductions in cash flow, threatening their ability to make payroll and to acquire the medical supplies needed to provide care.
● Providers may be unable to verify patients’ health insurance coverage, process claims and receive payment from many payers, exchange clinical records with other providers, provide cost estimates and bill patients, and, in some instances, access the clinical guidelines to support prior authorization.
What We’re Doing
● We are working with our vendors to secure reliable workarounds to help claims processing and payment to take the place of manual claims entry which is very time consuming and costly.
● We have asked for support, including greater transparency about the nature and scope of the attack.
● We have asked for an anticipated timeline for resolution, and temporary access to advanced payments to help us weather the period while normal claims processing functions are down.
● We are reaching out to our legislators for federal support as this disruption persists and for help in mitigating solutions.
Please know, the wellbeing of our patients and communities is most important, and we are working on your behalf. Thank you for your patience during this critical time.

Southeast Colorado Hospital Patrons -- SECHD greatly appreciates your support and understanding as our renovation project continues. March 22, 2024 renovation progress report: The Board of Directors and Administration appreciates your patience with any inconveniences you have experienced as we continue the District’s renovation project. We will soon begin Phase II of the project.

Southeast Colorado Hospital District renovation construction is in progress. Most services will remain open and operational during construction and renovation of the facility. As a patron, you will still be able to park at the hospital and medical clinic main entrances. Our staff are prepared to serve your needs with minimal delay, sometimes in alternative spaces than normal, as construction is widespread that may cause smaller waiting and service areas. Emergency patients will be triaged based on your level of acuity or ailment. There may be occasional settings of the services being provided in sanitary but not customary spaces and rooms. Rarely you may be housed with another patient as was the experience when the hospital opened in 1969 and decades later.
Noise and progress will be evident through the next week and the contractor will use sound mitigation means.
The Administration area is ready to move in. The medical laboratory project is getting to the onset under the DOLA grant which is separate from the USDA project. This is requiring transferring the entire laboratory equipment to an external mobile unit. This mobile unit is residing south of the hospital’s main entrance and parking location. Street parking will be posted during this project. All laboratory required specimen collection will remain in the hospital. There is work to connect utilities to the outer lab temporary structure. Concrete forms will soon be put into place for the emergency entrance. Ongoing cleaning and sanitation is ongoing and a key to the project. Handicap parking locations are available throughout the project. Patient care areas are in punchlist completion and are awaiting restaffing movement as space is available. The nurse’s station is going through punchlist sign-off. The new emergency department is continuing to take shape. The rehabilitation building structure is done with the finish coat of stucco. Sidewalks are getting completed. Rehab structure is getting punchlist items completed. Locker and decontamination space is near completion. There is work in the gas system being done. One facility generator will be relocated to meet standards. Containment barriers have been established to maintain a safe construction zone and to maintain environmentally safe patient care for the rest of the hospital. Negative air pressure in the construction zones is operational. A digital machine is being used to determine air quality that will alarm if air quality exceeds safe limits.

The District intends to continue to share periodic updates of our progress. You are welcome to view poster board project rendering pictures in our main lobby. This is an exciting time for the entire District staff and those we serve.

Dave Engel - CEO

Nurse Aide Classes Available at Southeast Colorado Hospital District:

Nurse Aide Classes

Train To Be A Nurse Aide

Are you looking for a career in healthcare? We can help you get started with a "Free Nurse Aide Class" at Southeast Colorado Hospital District and Long Term Care in Springfield CO.
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is on the front lines of patient / resident care. The nursing assistant position is certainly one of the most vital to daily operations for the nursing care facility.
If you are hired by Southeast Colorado Hospital District we have a great opportunity for you. We have set the dates for the next "Free Nurse Aide Class" at Southeast Colorado Hospital District and Long Term Care in Springfield CO.
Need to start working prior to the CNA class? We offer positions as Support Staff, as you start the transition towards obtaining your Nursing Assistant certification.
- You will begin a great career and after hired will be getting paid while you are attending the Nurse Aide class.

Requirements for the class:
o you must be 16 or older,
o no record of a felony, no violent or theft crime,
o you must pass a drug screening
o you must pass a reading comprehension test
o and pass an interview.
You may work as a support staff helping you to get know the residents prior to class.
Wages when hired at SECH as per diem: Start at minimum wage: $15.50
Wages at SECH after 90 days and certification full time, based on merit of job performance: $16.50 per hour.
If you have any questions, or interest:
Please Contact:
Rheannon Hendricks 719-523-2123
Glenice Wade 719-523-2141 or
Or Sheri Reed Director of Nurses (719) 523-2116 or email

Well Child Visits
The Southeast Colorado Hospital Rural Health Clinic is excited to announce that we are offering Well Child Appointments including vaccines. These appointments enable the child, parents and provider to sit down together and focus on the health and well being of your child, discuss any questions or concerns that you may have, check your child’s growth and development and do a physical exam, get recommended screening test completed and review your child’s immunization records. The SECH RHC is excited to be able to offer the needed immunizations with this new program at our clinic.
Call and make your child an appointment with any of our wonderful providers by calling 719-523-6628.

Southeast Colorado Hospital District will be destroying records of people who have not utilized the facility during the last ten years. Children's records will be kept to the age of the majority (18), plus 10 years. Destruction of records will also include Long Term Care records, Southeast Colorado Medical Clinic, Rehabilitation, Home Health and Hospice records. If you have not been seen at our facility during the past 10 years, but would like us to retain your records, please contact the Medical Records Department at (719)-523-2125, 523-2191 or 523-2162 by April 28, 2023. 6. Colo. Code Regs. §1011-1, chap.IV, 8.102 (2008)

Congratulations to Home Health and Crys Rush, Director for a $10,000 Cancer Travel Grant to benefit Baca County and the Southeast Region! Kudos.


Colorado Rural Health Center recognized Baca Counties' Southeast Colorado Hospital District recently as one of the top three of 32 critical access hospitals in the state. In this ranking, the Rural Health Center factored inpatient and outpatient measures, a consumer assessment of the facility, and the effective communication of patient information.

Dave Engel CEO/Administrator stated: "This recognition is the reflection of the efforts of our TEAM, "Together Everyone Achieves More" perspective. On a daily basis, teamwork is recognized across our District. Establishing our vision and milestones for providing the best care possible are the results of our successes. Our team members and 'in essence' their families, have put caring for our communities first and foremost. The District board and I are very proud of each and every District employee. HERO's are engaged in healing and caring at SECHD."
Karma Wilson, R.N., Nurse Informatics, quality director at the hospital, stated that the ranking was based on a whole hospital and clinic assessment for our facility and said this was a gracious recognition for all the hospital and clinic areas. She stated that to be recognized is a testament to the dedication of all our team for taking trainings, implementing ideas, improving quality, billing, and the overall patient experience here. When she was called to the stage at the 2022 Annual Rural Health Conference in Colorado Springs, she felt, the experience proved "the teams at SECHD are patient stewards and implement learning opportunities to our facility."
Carla Forrest, Health Information Management Director was complimentary to the Rural Health Center's training by providing billing and coding workshops, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy and security updates, assessments and trainings, Small Hospital Improvement Planning grants that offer Electronic Medical Records workflow and data accuracy projects, and quality improvement trainings. Carla stated that: "We would not be in the top three critical access hospitals in the state if we did not have the trainings, support, and programs that the Rural Health Center provides."
Bob Schaller, Chief Engineer explained "This is just one of many examples that show how dedicated and caring our TEAM at SECHD are. I believe we have the best staff in the country, we strive every day to do our best and are willing to step up to help out even when we are short staffed. SECHD is top notch because we take pride in caring for our patients, facility, and community. We are constantly told by state surveyors and others that we are one of the most well taken care of facilities that they survey, especially considering the age of the building. They comment on how clean the facility and our linens are, also that building is very well maintained.
Heather Burdick the Hospital Chief Nursing Officer states that the top three designation is attributed to the fact that:" most of us are home grown and have ties to our community, we care and love our community members and want to provide the best possible care we as individuals can. I'm a strong believer in small town facilities having an upper hand in quality over the busier, faster paced city facilities. We are set up to better customize our plans of care to each community member that visits. As a leader I encourage all of my team members to make goals, strive to achieve them and take advantage of any and all educational opportunities whether it be a new certification or degree all of which supports the quality of care we can offer our patients. We have very strong nurses in very important areas such as case management, quality measures and informatics. It doesn't stop there, the entire team from the providers, Clinical Nurse Assistants, environmental services, lab and radiology, bedside nurses and many others are on the front lines of interaction with our patients. We are dedicated and work together which has formulated a very powerful team that delivers quality care to those in need."
Staci Bishop PA-C, Practice Manager feels we are in the top three based on the fact that all employees truly care about our patients. The providers and staff will always do their best to get the patient what they need. Sometimes this is no small task given our remote location and the ever-changing regulations in healthcare. The staff here strives to work as a team; despite short staffing issues, over the past several years. Someone is ALWAYS willing to pitch in if needed. I would also give a nod to our administration and board members. They have been incredibly supportive of the needs for our patients in our area. The clinic providers and staff have participated in research projects via the High Plains Research Network, which combines many small healthcare facilities on the eastern plains. These include topics on opioid dependence, cancer survivorship, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) screening. SECHD has made advanced emergency trainings available to appropriate staff both online and in-person at the facility. This helps our staff receive the training they need without having to travel. We have implemented the following items that have driven us to the top three in Critical Access Hospitals: One of the biggest changes around the clinic has been the implementation of telehealth visits. Patients can see and discuss issues with their provider without leaving their own home. The clinic has promoted Annual Wellness Visits for the past few years. These "AWVs" provide the patient a chance to sit down with a nurse and make sure all of their screenings, vaccinations and preventative care is up-to-date per current guidelines. This visit is covered by Medicare 100% (no co-pay). It has helped us identify patients who might have an undiagnosed/underlying issue that could be nipped in early stages rather than advancing to a serious illness.

The rural health center's "Certificate of Excellence", according to Wilson, recognizes "quality work", various program implementations, training of staff, improvements in safety, Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP) improvements, antibiotic stewardship, improved facility interoperability implementations, all of which which have improved the patient experience at SECHD in the last year. These are the reasons we are in the top three and shows that we are taking the best care of our patients." The implementation of the hospital and clinic antibiotic stewardship program to not prescribe antibiotics unless they were absolutely necessary, and proven necessary with specific organism laboratory tests, shows the dedication taken for our patients. By not overprescribing, patients have less chance for future disease by not developing resistance to antibiotics. The clinic and hospital Champions encourage local residents to take the influenza vaccine, to lessen the number of flu cases. The hospital and clinic have made recent investments in refrigeration devices to be able to safely store the vaccines. The providers and nurses have taken many trainings on new techniques, therapies, and data driven responses that have allowed clinical personnel to respond quickly to the recent accidents/traumas, outbreaks of RSV, flu, heart attacks, stroke, and behavioral health issues. With the high skill sets and therapies, overall care of the patients has improved. The patients are well taken care of before transfers occur. When a patient returns home or to our facility, the caring continues. Our facility staff not only sees patients as a patient but as a friend who becomes a part of the SECHD family.

The Colorado Rural Health Center mentioned other factors considered for this recognition including: cleanliness, quietness, responsiveness, and the willingness of patients to recommend SECHD as the hospital to go to.

Congratulations to Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke and Yuma District Hospital, who were also ranked in the top three facilities.

Hospital Nurse Recognition!

I want to take just a bit of time to recognize two of our own: Jacia Piper and Kanzadie Moreno for continuing their education, increasing upward steps on the healthcare ladder. Both are Baca County raised and choose to be a part of the healthcare team that serves our wonderful community.

Jacia started out her healthcare career in 2004 when she became a certified nurse's aide working at the hospital before graduating from high school. Jacia later attended nursing school and became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2008 during which time she worked at the Long Term Care Center and Alzheimer's unit until graduating with her nursing degree becoming a Registered Nurse in 2009. Jacia has worked as a bedside RN ever since at our hospital assisting with outpatient procedures and as back up pharmacy nurse. In 2016 Jacia received her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Nursing and was able to add BSN to her credentials following her name. The past couple of years Jacia has also helped out working for Home Health on top of her position at the hospital. Jacia started her master's degree program in 2020 and is graduating later this month with her MSN. Jacia will then prep and prepare to take her Family Nurse Practitioner exam as soon as possible. When asked why she has chosen her nursing career Jacia replies "I've always had a passion for helping others and now this is my chance to give back and care for the community that has raised me to be the person I am today. I have a passion for women's health and aesthetics, I would like to incorporate both into my practice one day soon!"

Kanzadie started her healthcare career back in 2007 when she became a certified nurse's aide and worked as a CNA for the hospital. In the fall of 2010 Kanzadie completed her Licensed Practical Nursing degree and started working as an LPN for the Long Term Care Center and Alzheimer's unit. In 2016 Kanzadie finished her degree in nursing and became a Registered Nurse where she worked for our facility in various areas including cardiac rehab, clinic and hospital. In 2021 Kanzadie found her way back to SECH and began working in the field of nursing informatics which is a field of nursing with high demand and fills in at the bedside when we need help picking up shifts! Kanzadie started working on her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing shortly after COVID started and is graduating later this month with her BSN. Future goals for Kanzadie are to obtain her Master's degree in nursing and become a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner which is another area of high demand. When asked why she chose nursing as her career of choice Kanzadie says "I became a nurse because I wanted to help people in a meaningful way. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, and I saw nursing as a way to do that. I also knew that nursing would be a challenging and rewarding career, and I was up for the challenge. I am now a registered nurse and I absolutely love my job. I can help patients and their families in a variety of ways, and I feel like I am making a difference in the world. I believe that nursing is a calling, and I am so grateful that I followed my heart and became a nurse. It is a demanding and challenging career, but it is also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I have ever done. I am constantly learning and growing as a nurse, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. To my family I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being the best family I could ever ask for. Your support is what allowed me to be the nurse I am today."

When you see these ladies out and about, congratulate them on their accomplishments as we are so fortunate to have them be a part of the healthcare team! Congratulations Jacia and Kanzadie!

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is currently increasing in Colorado, particularly among infants to children below the age of two. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in 7 to 14 days; however, RSV can be a serious health risk, especially for infants to children below the age of two, adults over 65, and those living in residential care facilities. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than one year of age. Southeast Colorado Hospital District is encouraging parents and caregivers to keep young children with respiratory illness out of childcare, even if testing negative for COVID-19. Children who are ill with RSV or other respiratory illness please remain home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have been improving for 24 hours. Childcare providers, educators, and staff of long-term care facilities should avoid working while acutely ill, even if you have tested negative for COVID-19.
Charmaine Bishop, RN
Infection Prevention and Control
Southeast Colorado Hospital District

Each year at tax time we look for ways that our giving can benefit our community and not just be paid in general taxes. Donations to the hospital district or the hospital foundation are a good way to put direction to these finances and other funds we have built-up in our lifetime. Giving can be done in such a way that it will benefit our area and leave a legacy that gives us personal satisfaction. Southeast Colorado Hospital District and Long Term Care Center is your local non-profit that would like you and the people of the Southeast region to think of us as the benefactor as you set up your yearly tax deductions, giving or developing your final will and testament, to "do the most good". Some people in their golden years and retirement are looking for a good place to give their assets and to set up benefactors. Many do not have family but want to see their life's work, giving, and philanthropy live on in our area. Southeast Colorado Hospital District and Long Term Care Center; your local hospital and Long Term Care Center, is a local publicly owned non-profit organization that has served the people of Baca County and the Southeast Region since 1969. Recent legislation includes several provisions to help individuals and businesses who give to charities. The new law generally extends four temporary tax changes through the end of 2021. The IRS overview of the 2021 changes are listed at: and covers 1.) Deduction for individuals who don't itemize 2.) Cash donations 3.)100% limit on eligible cash contributions made by taxpayers who itemize deductions. 4.) Corporate limit increased to 25% of taxable income.

The standard method of making a contribution to Southeast Colorado Hospital District is to hand carry a donation to 373 E. Tenth Street Springfield CO or mail a check to the Southeast Colorado Hospital District offices at 373 E. Tenth Ave Springfield, CO 81073 Attn: Dorothy Burke. However, this method is not the only form of donation payment mechanism available; please, contact your accountant, legal counsel, or financial advisor for specific questions about your giving. If you have general questions call, (719) 523-4501 and ask for Dorothy Burke or Steve Sanchez. All givers will be given an immediate receipt upon donation of any kind. Non-cash giving can be discussed in a case by case basis.

Southeast Colorado Hospital District and our Foundation have each been approved as an enterprise zone for tax credits when you donate. Information on the state Enterprise Zone program can be found at
The Colorado legislature created the Enterprise Zone (EZ) Program to encourage development in economically distressed areas of the state.
In designated enterprise zones:
• businesses are eligible for state income tax credits and sales and use tax exemptions for specific business investments
• economic development projects form by incentivizing taxpayers to contribute through state income tax credits
• taxpayers who contribute to enterprise zone projects may earn income tax credits
Businesses within enhanced rural enterprise zones earn additional tax credits, Southeast Colorado Hospital District is one.

The Emergency Medical Services Department at Southeast Colorado Hospital District is looking for people interested in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program and a willingness to serve right here in Baca County. We are contemplating starting an EMT course in January 2023 for eligible persons. If you or someone you know would like to become an EMT, please contact Cherilyn Wittler, EMS Director @ 719-523-2186 to see if this course might be a good fit for you.

Cherilyn Wittler, EMS Director
Southeast Colorado Hospital Ambulance Service
972 Kansas St
Springfield, CO 81073

(m) 719-353-1509
(o) 719-523-2186
(f) 719-523-6454

Southeast Colorado Hospital District Personnel and Baca County Residents- "we need your help in correctly avoiding the helicopter and ambulance staging areas around the SECHD Clinic, Helipad, and the area between the emergency room and the hospital."

Each time the helicopters land, hospital personnel set up barricades and attempt to contain the safety area; in and around the helipad, and within the contained areas. We are beginning to see cars driving through the emergency areas and around barricades while we are loading patients from the emergency room to a helicopter flight. We need your help in observing the barricades and staying out of the controlled areas. Please, sit and wait patiently as aviation personnel, emergency responders, medical, and ambulance staff load patients as nationally many have been injured or fatally injured, when the safety zones are violated. Please, observe basic safety principals of sitting and waiting or taking another route to entirely avoid the safety area. Only trained staff should ever get under the rotor system of a helicopter, a vehicle should never be underneath a helicopter rotor for any reason. Even the lightest contact may result in permanent damage. Any contact to the tail rotor of a helicopter can result in serious injury and mechanical failure.

"We need your help" in correctly avoiding the barricaded helicopter and ambulance staging areas around the SECHD Clinic, Helipad, and the area between the emergency room and the hospital." Never drive inside the hospital barricades when they are deployed. Please, park elsewhere and save a life. Please, help us reduce the risk of loss of life, accident, financial, emotional, and physical loss by staying out of the controlled areas.

Southeast Colorado Hospital District is pleased to announce our upcoming facility planning projects. This journey has taken a few years along with much research and soul searching to assure the District citizens a well thought out facility plan and project.
This journey began in the spring of 2018 during a strategic planning session on the need to update our facility. You may ask why? One major concern is infection prevention that is difficult to control with our 'Jack-n-Jill' room design of shared bathrooms and facilities. The second is the major need to update our 53 year old building that has cracked, stressed and settled, compliance with modern medical guidelines, preservation, updates to the physical electronics with increased IT and medical electronics, system upgrades for medical gases and suction systems to meet standards. Many ADA requirements are lacking and needed to comply with licensing agencies; The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The public was welcome to the event and may come and view poster-board displays in the Hospital's lobby.
Our journey timeline:

Calendar Year 2018:
• Spring 2018: Strategic Planning session recommendation to research facility improvements.
• Researched the District's financial position.
• Architect request for proposals.

Calendar Year 2019:
• Researched third party financial advisors. Contracted with Dougherty Mortgage LLC.
• Researched USDA loan requirements.
• Architect interviews and selection.
• Owner-agent interviews and selection.

Calendar Year 2020:
• Bond counsel interviews and selection.
• Request for proposals for financial feasibility study interviews and selection.
• COVID Pandemic - Suspended activities for four months.

Calendar Year 2021:
• Construction management / General contractor requests for proposal and interviews and selection.
• Facility planning / Town Hall (April 29, 2021)
• Architect of record request for proposals, interviews, and selection.
• USDA Loan application submissions.
• NEW General Counsel selection.
• Property appraisal.
• Environmental study.

Calendar Year 2022:
• USDA Direct Loan obligations received - June 2022.
o Revenue Bonds chosen to serve as collateral.
• Construction Loan to be secured with Greater Commercial Lending.

Calendar Year 2023:
• Construction begins.

Calendar Year 2024:
• Construction completed.

Pictured above: "left" Dave Engel, CEO-Administrator, Karina Garcia, Rayne Thomas, and Bay Ellis of the Springfield FCCLA. "right".

Springfield High School FCCLA students donate toys for the children that visit the "Emergency Room".
Karina Garcia, Rayne Thomas, and Bay Ellis completed a 'focus on the family' FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) project this year. They held a toy drive for the emergency department (ER) at the Southeast Colorado Hospital District to benefit the pediatric patients. Rayne, Bay, and Karina felt that it was very likely that a young person's anxiety from visiting the hospital has increased since the start of COVID and wanted to try to help ease these feelings by helping replenish the stock of toys that the hospital nursing staff gives out when children visit the ER. Rayne's mother, Bay's mother, and Karina and her sisters are all employees of Southeast Colorado Hospital District and Long Term Care Center and the students felt it important to do a project to benefit the community and the Hospital District.

Mental Wellness
With new teachers and classmates, bigger classrooms, new routines and more schoolwork, the beginning of a new school year can be an exciting and stressful time for children. This time can be particularly overwhelming for children who are facing major transitions such as moving to a new city, or entering elementary or middle school for the first time. As a parent there are important steps you can take to support your child as he or she heads back to school.
Establish an early routine
• Begin establishing a "back to school" routine at least two weeks prior to school starting to minimize stress and help with the transition.
• Adjust their bedtime schedule. Many kids (including teens) need as many as nine or more hours of sleep. Adjusting their schedule ahead of time will help your child be ready when school starts.
• Promote good eating habits. Plan for ways to ensure your child gets a healthy breakfast to help prepare them for the school day. If you pack your children's lunches, go grocery shopping with them and allow them to pick out healthy foods they'll enjoy. Kids tend to eat what they've picked out themselves.
Get acquainted with the school
• See if your child is interested in visiting the school prior to the first day. Take a walk around the school with your child to locate his or her classrooms, lunchroom, playground and restrooms. If you can't visit, take a virtual tour on the school's website. There may be photos of the classroom, playground, school staff, required school supplies, schedules, etc. This will help keep your child from feeling lost on the first day.
• Engage with school staff. Identify school functions or parent volunteer opportunities to stay involved in your child's education.
Provide emotional support
• Talk to your child about expectations for the upcoming school year. Ask about specific concerns she might have about the new school year.
• If you establish rules, make sure they are simple, age appropriate, clear, and can be consistently enforced. Introduce them before the school year starts, and try not to change rules often.
• Spend time each day talking to your child. Try to use open ended questions. We all have asked, "How was school today?" Our children often respond with, "Fine" or "Good." Try asking, "What was the most exciting thing about today? What was the most stressful?" Remember to share about your life too. Creating an open dialogue is about creating healthy habits and practices.
• Praise and encourage your child to become involved with school activities and to try new things. Encourage your child to try to make new friends and to be a friend. School is a "social hub" that can be a very lonely place without a friend or two. Encourage him to reconnect with a friend before the start of school. Talk about strategies for making new friends.
Identify additional mental health needs
• Know the signs of bullying. Bullying can take the form of direct bullying such as pushing, kicking, teasing, name-calling, destroying belongings as well as indirect action such as leaving someone out of a group, spreading rumors and cyber bullying. If your child is the bully or being bullied, swift action involving school staff is necessary.
• Remember to let your child know that it's normal to feel nervous about the start of school. For parents of younger children, suggest that your child take a family photo or special object (with permission from school) to school to make his or her surroundings more comfortable. Anxiety and stress about starting school is normal for a child and usually passes within the first few days or weeks. If your child continues to seem anxious or stressed, it may be time to seek help.
• Be proactive in learning about how your child is developing physically, socially and emotionally. If you are aware of what's typical behavior and thoughts for your child, you will be able to tell more readily when things change. Recognizing sudden changes in behaviors are useful in early intervention of emotional needs.
• Talk to your child's teacher, other classroom-based staff as well as your pediatrician about what you can do as a parent. If problems persist, consider getting a referral to a trained and qualified mental health professional.
• Know that your child's mental health is just as important as their physical health; your involvement will help him or her develop a healthier life.
©2014-2021 Mental Health America. Used with permission.

Many of our SECHD employees volunteer to give blood at the area blood drives and we would like to explain the blood donation process to any of you that that might be interested in donating at the next Baca County Blood Drive. Some common reasons people can't donate are: Cold, Flu, and Illness, Medications, Low Iron, and Travel Outside of the United States. You'll be asked for your ID, address, and will read information about donating blood. The blood donation process from the time you arrive until the time you leave takes about an hour. The draw itself is only about 8-10 minutes on average. It starts with registration where you will sign in and go over basic eligibility. The next thing you do has to do with your health history, where you'll answer a few questions about your health history on a computer about places you've traveled, prescriptions or over the counter medications, and get a personal check of your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Then you will give your donation in an area of your arm that will be cleansed, and a brand new sterile needle inserted for the blood draw. (This feels like a quick pinch and is over in seconds.) A blood draw takes about 8-10 minutes, during which you'll be seated comfortably or lying down. Take a selfie, or simply share your good deed with friends. It may inspire them to become blood donors. Thank you, for considering giving blood.

Clarification statement on the meaning of "Divert" status for SECHD Emergency Room. As a facility our ER and Hospital is ALWAYS open and will accept anyone that presents to our facility. Due to a shortage of nursing staff and new regulations passed by the State of Colorado on October 15, 2021, SECHD will, at times, be going on a "divert" status for the emergency room. By regulations, state and federal, the hospital is required to have a "care team" on duty for each "care area" every shift. A care team consists of a registered nurse and a C.N.A., or other ancillary personnel if no C.N.A.'s are available such as a Respiratory Therapist. However, if there is not a registered nurse for the care area-that care area cannot remain open-it does not matter at that point whether ancillary personnel are available. If there are not enough registered nurses to cover the care areas, acute and emergency, SECHD will go on "divert" status for the emergency room.

What this means for the general public is that you MAY come to the emergency room as you always have, the provider will do a medical screen to determine if the reason for your visit is a true emergency. If the provider determines that your visit is not an emergency, you will be provided instructions for further care.

True emergency conditions will ALWAYS be triaged, stabilized, and treated to the extent possible at SECHD and the patient will be transferred to another hospital capable of handling the case.

Ambulance services will be notified when SECHD is placed on divert status, and that allows them to transport to another facility. They may receive guidance from the providers at SECHD regarding the stabilization and treatment of the patient during transfer to other facilities. The ambulance may also request air ambulances to come to the scene, especially if there are mass trauma/casualties, and transport from the accident scene to the higher level of care hospital.

At this time, many Emergency Departments in the state are going on and off of Divert based on staffing and other operation restrictions.

As a facility, we exhaust all viable options and make these decisions with serious consideration.

Dave Engel - CEO
Heather Burdick - Dir of Nursing
Dr. J Javier - Chief of Staff

I will be happy to meet w/ departments if you have further questions.

Thank you,

Dave Engel - FACHE
Southeast Colorado Hospital District
373 E. 10th Ave.
Springfield, CO 81073
719-523-4501 Ext. 130