Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Press Release - Health Consortium Wins $11.8M Grant




TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2010



Myung Oak Kim, 303-947-5708,

Kayla Arnesen, 970-250-4060,


Gov. Bill Ritter today applauded the Colorado Beacon Consortium for winning an $11.8 million grant to help improve chronic disease care in the Grand Junction community through wider use of healthcare information technology. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant was announced this morning by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“The Colorado Beacon Consortium, led by Rocky Mountain Health Plans, has been a national model for using healthcare information technology to improve medical care in the Grand Junction community. I am proud that the Recovery Act is investing in a new program that will improve the health of the Western Slope community,” Gov. Ritter said. “This Recovery Act grant will create jobs while laying the foundation for long term improvements in healthcare for Colorado.”

The Colorado Beacon Consortium includes Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Mesa County Independent Physicians’ Practice Association, Quality Health Network and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. This group was among 15 organizations across the nation chosen for pilot projects with the Beacon Community Program.

The Colorado consortium will use the grant to increase collection of clinical data to improve care for patients with diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, to increase smoking cessation counseling and to reduce unnecessary use of emergency department care and hospital re-admission.


“We are excited about this grant and eager to build upon Western Colorado’s reputation as an innovative pioneer that serves as an example of effective collaboration among community-based, not-for-profit health care organizations and service agencies,” said Steve ErkenBrack, Colorado Beacon Consortium Executive Committee Member and president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

“The Beacon Grant is affirmation of the leadership and vision by health care community leaders in Western Colorado,” said Dick Thompson, CEO of Quality Health Network. “We appreciate this opportunity and look forward to sharing our progress with the nation.”

The Grand Junction community has been repeatedly recognized on a national level for its adoption in 2005 of a coordinated healthcare information technology system, known as the Quality Health Network. The vast majority of physicians, pharmacies as well as the two hospitals in the Grand Junction area are connected to the network which includes data for more than 400,000 patients. Other communities across the country are working towards establishing similar networks to improve medical care. The Recovery Act is investing $2 billion in efforts to achieve widespread and meaningful use of health IT and to provide an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.

The Recovery Act, signed into law in February by President Obama, is expected to bring Colorado at least $7.1 billion through more than 140 different programs, including tax cuts for most working families, increased safety net services and investment in infrastructure projects and growth industries. For more information about the Recovery Act in Colorado, visit