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Colorado Human Service & Health Officials Visit Cañon City

Fremont County officials were afforded the opportunity again on Tuesday to engage in an annual discussion on public health and human services issues with Colorado State officials.   Fremont County Human Services Director Steve Clifton has organized the annual visit by state officials for the past several years.   Sue Birch, Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF), said Fremont County’s Human Services Department is one of the highest performing counties in the state.  Former State Representative Tom Massey, now the Communications and Operations Director at HCPF, said the issues facing Fremont County are the same as those in larger cities, just on a different scale.

During the gathering on Tuesday, state officials toured the departments and met with staff and local governmental representatives to share information on health care reform, mental health services and state legislation.

Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, toured Fremont County’s new Public Health Office in the Garden Park Building.   In a conversation with Public Health Director Rick Miklich and the Fremont County Commissioners, Wolk addressed Fremont County's high suicide rate.   Wolk talked about how Colorado's $65 million State Innovation Model grant will bring money, resources and expertise to integrate both the medical and behavioral health sides so patients will not only have their medical needs addressed, but also their mental health needs at doctors’ offices and clinics.

Wolk noted that he is accustomed to visiting Cañon City a couple times a year to take part in some of the Community Action Group discussions regarding cleanup and repurposing of the former Cotter Uranium Mill site south of Cañon City.

Cañon City State Senator Kevin Grantham joined the group at a noon luncheon.   As a member of the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee this year Grantham said the JBC took a proactive stance on a few issues, including the Children with Autism waiver that provides intensive behavioral intervention and treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder.