The Western Strategies Center will unveil its first report: the state of local health care at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the Carnegie Room of downtown’s Penrose Library.

Created by former Congressional candidate Jay Fawcett, WSC is a nonprofit organization that serves as a clearinghouse of information on local issues.

In its report, the center found that funding for the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment hasn’t kept pace with increased service requirements and that there is a need for better interaction between the criminal justice system and emergency response systems.

Other findings:

  • Safety net programs are effective, but the number of local uninsured individuals exceeds the capacity of the programs to provide care.
  • Hospital bed capacity in the county is low relative to other cities.
  • Colorado Springs has a shortage of primary care doctors, nurses and psychiatrists.
  • Efforts are underway to enhance coordination between military and civilian systems, in light of upcoming Fort Carson expansions.

The group suggests creating a local index of safety net organizations, a mental health triage system to decrease emergency room use by people with behavioral health problems and increasing health department funding for recruiting personnel.