The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations named Pikes Peak Mental Health Center the 2005 winner of the ninth Ernest Amory Codman Award, which recognizes excellence in the use of outcomes measurement by health care organizations.

PPMHC received the behavioral health care category award for its part in addressing substance abuse issues in the area.

As a result of decreased funding a few years ago, PPMHC limited its detox bed capacity, which triggered an overflow to emergency rooms and an increased burden on police officers. Penrose-St. Francis secured a grant to study the problem and find ways to fill in the gaps created by a lack of financial resources.

PPMHC, in collaboration with community partners, such as Penrose-St. Francis Hospital, Memorial Hospital and the city and county, formed a detox governing council, which resulted in the Harbor House program.

Funded by 12 grants and donations, the program provides transitional housing and intensive case management to clients with a history of chronic alcoholism and homelessness. According to a PPMHC news release, the center also established a recovery-oriented culture.

The program exceeded its goals, which included a significant reduction in recidivism, particularly among the community’s most chronic addicts. The results also included an 83 percent increase in bed capacity because of reduced client stays, a 27 percent increase in access to services, a 24 percent increase in customer satisfaction and an almost 23 percent reduction in client re-admission.

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“The Codman Award is the validation of the commitment of our community to find solutions through a collaborative engagement,” said Rick O’Connell, CEO of Penrose-St. Francis Hospital. “We found a creative solution that improved the lives of those we serve and helped make Colorado Springs a better place for business, families and individuals.”

“The Codman Award is recognition at the highest level that this is a quality program that demonstrates change in people’s lives and healthcare,” said Cherie Gorby, senior administrator of patient care services and COO at Memorial Hospital.

“We are grateful to the Joint Commission for this prestigious award,” said Morris Roth, president and CEO of Pikes Peak Mental Health Center. “The Ernest Amory Codman Award is affirmation of our approach to intervention, treatment and community collaboration at its best.”

On another PPMHC note

CSBJ “Women of Influence” honoree Sharon Raggio was just promoted to COO of PPMHC.

El Paso County Medical Society receives grant

The Physician’s Foundation for Health Systems Excellence has awarded $16 million to 26 nonprofit organizations across the country.

PracticeNet Solutions, a joint project involving the El Paso County Medical Society Foundation, the Dallas Academy of Medicine and the Travis County Medical Society Foundation in Austin, Texas, received a one-year grant of $986,529 to support physicians who care for the uninsured and to help “unify medicine’s approach to the problem of uninsured patients and their impact on a medical practice,” according to a news release.

PracticeNet Solutions has been providing physicians with tools to efficiently manage the care and costs of the self-pay and uninsured patient through community collaborations and patient responsibility oriented intervention.

The one- to three-year individual grants range from $100,000 to $1 million.

Peak Vista awarded Caring for Colorado grant

The Caring for Colorado Foundation awarded $126,893 to Peak Vista Community Health Center to support a school-based dental screening and treatment program targeting first and second graders in “high-need” elementary schools in El Paso County.

The foundation awarded more than $1 million to 12 Colorado programs as part of its five-year $5 million “Oral Health Improvement” project.

Since 2001, Caring for Colorado has given more than $28 million to organizations throughout Colorado.

Telemedicine, Telehealth Symposium on tap

The Ben Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Center on the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora is the site of the 2005 Telemedicine and Telehealth Policy Symposium on Nov. 11. Registration is required for the free program, which begins at 8: 30 a.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Visit for more information.

Former Penrose-St. Francis CFO dies

Sister Ruth Anne Panning, who spent 24 years as the chief financial officer of the Penrose-St. Francis Foundation, died after a brief illness. She was 81.

Her duties at the foundation also included two years as customer service director and 12 years as vice president.

“She was a person who would give me a straight answer no matter what,” said Rick O’Connell, president and CEO of Penrose-St. Francis. “Sister Ruth Anne made me and everyone else that she came in contact with feel special. I will miss her terribly.”

Marylou Doehrman covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.