Dr. James Simerville is a board certified occupational medicine physician and pediatrician who retired in 2000 as the southern Colorado medical director for PacifiCare/Secure Horizons. Practice Net Solutions has appointed Simerville as the medical director of a collaborative program among the El Paso County Medical Society, the Dallas County Medical Society and the Travis County (Austin, Texas) Medical Society.

In El Paso County, Practice Net Solutions coordinates volunteer physician services for the CATCH (coordinated access to communality health) program, which expands health care access and assists with improved health outcomes through charitable gifts for the uninsured and underinsured.

Simerville was the medical director for Colorado Springs Health Partners, and served as a pediatrician in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. He retired from the military in 1984 as the deputy hospital commander for the Air Force Academy.

He serves on the board of governors for Colorado Technical University, the community advisory board for Beth El Nursing School and the El Paso County Physicians Foundation board.

Colorado EMS association awards local paramedics

The Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado recognized three Colorado Springs American Medical Response paramedics at its November award banquet.

Jenny Catanach received the Colorado State Paramedic of the Year award for advancing excellence standards in the delivery of emergency care.

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Mark Homan was named the Colorado State EMS Instructor of the Year for his contributions in the development of EMS education for EMS workers in Colorado.

Mark Bruning received the Peg Hamilton Life Time Achievement Award as an EMS association board member who has demonstrated outstanding performance and the most involvement with the association and emergency medical services throughout the past year.

Owens’ health care budget

The Colorado General Fund appropriation to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will increase 4.4 percent, or $60.2 million, if Gov. Bill Owens has his way.

The additional funds are based on expectations that the Medicaid caseload will increase by 8.2 percent or 36,145 enrollees, which requires a total increase of $69.3 million, or 3.2 percent.

Owens also proposes $4.1 million for caseload increases in the Medicaid mental health program. A $10.3 million increase in total funding for the Colorado Children’s Health Plan Plus, which is supported by tobacco settlement money.

The requested level of funding will allow for an average monthly enrollment of more than 42,000 children in the program.

Owens recommends the following for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

  • $760,024 (general fund), $56,380 in cash and 10 full-time equivalent positions for the drinking and waste water protection program
  • $502,948 (general fund) and 6.7 full-time equivalent positions for the health facilities licensure program, which will decrease the processing time for license applications and regulate hospitals in a more comprehensive manner.
  • $104,756 (general fund) and 1.2 full-time equivalent positions to continue the radiochemistry program, which monitors levels of radiation exposure
  • $100,336 and two full-time equivalent positions to administer the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program
  • $115,632 for the genetics counseling program, which intercepts parents of children with serious genetic diseases, especially in the rural areas

Medicare reimbursement cuts announced

According to Colorado Managed Care newsletter (published by James Hertel), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency) has announced a 4.4 percent average reduction in reimbursements for physician services for Medicare recipients.

According to the newsletter, physicians are concerned that commercial plans will follow the Medicare reimbursement schedule and implement the same reduced reimbursement rates.

Boomer health syndrome

There is a lot of hype these days about the future of health care in relation to the generation that seized the spotlight from 1946 to 1964, you know, the baby boomers.

The Wichita Business Journal published a story last week that included information about a Kansas medical center CEO who is gearing up his 760-bed hospital for a burgeoning aging population. By 2020, Americans age 65 or older will number 54 million, according to the story.

Reporter Jerry Siebenmark opens the piece with this statement: In the next 10 years, baby boomers, who will be living longer and experiencing more illnesses, will be putting a strain on the nation’s hospitals. It seems to be the health care mantra today.

Perhaps it’s not too late for the baby boomers to defy those all-assuming predictions and embrace preventive measures to remain healthy for a lifetime with the kind of enthusiasm reminiscent of … let’s say – Woodstock!

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