2022: Rising to the challenge
As a teacher, I know the value of assessments and reports. They demonstrate content learned and accountability for the greater good. And, like student assessments, an annual report holds an organization accountable to those we serve. I am proud to share our 2022 Annual Report—it represents our continued commitment to the northern Larimer County community.
The mission of the Health District of Northern Larimer County is to enhance the health of our community so that district residents will live long and well. In 2022, our board of directors set three main goals to achieve this mission:
- Improve mental health
- Improve oral health
- Increase access to care through health insurance coverage
Health District staff achieved these goals while also navigating the challenges of an ongoing global pandemic. Some highlights include improving mental and behavioral health care delivery as the need for services increased; responding to a greater demand for dental services in the Family Dental Clinic as people lost private insurance during COVID; and Larimer Health Connect staff enrolling more residents in insurance plans than the previous year.
Looking ahead, I am pleased to introduce our new Executive Director, Liane Jollon. Liane’s extensive public health leadership will be instrumental in fulfilling our mission and commitment to making the highest and best use of our resources. We are dedicated to pursuing health equity, using data to measure outcomes and track progress, and focusing on strategies that are known to impact community health.
|Our Services by the Numbers
|Patient visits to our Family Dental Clinic (2,036 patients served)
|People who received blood pressure and/or cholesterol checks
|Quit Tobacco counseling sessions held (for 177 clients)
|Client contacts for mental health or substance use help provided by Connections, CAYAC, and our Integrated Behavioral Health Program
|People who received psychiatric care from our Integrated Behavioral Health Program staff at safety net clinics
|Households that received help finding new, reduced-cost health insurance options from Larimer Health Connect
|Total number of individuals who received dental or health care, or connections to care from Health District staff
|Value of grants and donations received for dental and mental health services, health insurance enrollment support, community assessment, prescription assistance, quit tobacco services, and COVID-19 response
|Current Board of Directors
The Health District is governed by a publicly elected board of directors.
Molly Gutilla, President
Julie Kunce Field, Vice President
John McKay, Secretary
Joseph Prows, Treasurer
Erin Hottenstein, Assistant Treasurer
Choosing health over tobacco
Savannah Brown started smoking as a young teen in the days when many homes had ashtrays and lighters on the coffee table and cigarette commercials showed “cool people” puffing away. Through the years she tried to kick the habit with medications, nicotine replacement products, and the QuitLine, but nothing worked for long.
In fact, it took Brown three stints as a client in the Health District’s Quit Tobacco Program to become a committed non-smoker. One slip up occurred in 2021 during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“[Tobacco Treatment Specialist] Rosi Davidson had helped me quit for several months, but COVID was so hard,” Brown recalls. “You’re isolated, you couldn’t go anywhere, and I had people around me who smoked—that pushed me over the edge.”
Then last fall she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which causes airflow blockage in the lungs that makes breathing difficult. “When I learned I had COPD, I decided after 50 years, I had to put down the cigarettes for good. Rosi welcomed me back and helped me go step by step on my quit journey.”
Relapse is common for people trying to quit smoking, as with any addiction, says Davidson, herself a former smoker. “It can take a few attempts to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.”
As an experienced tobacco treatment specialist, Davidson does her best to prepare clients for how to deal with triggers. For example, physical activity can help get you through a craving because exercise releases some of the same “feel good” chemicals in the brain that nicotine does for smokers, she says. “A five-minute walk, 25 jumping jacks, or chair yoga can work wonders.”
Brown listened to Davidson and her doctors and took control of her health. She is now focused on daily exercise, better eating habits, and studying for her associate degree in computer science. And if she gets stressed and starts thinking about smoking, she knows what to do to keep from lighting up. “I’m so grateful to Rosi and this program. I’m in a good place now.”
For more information on the Quit Tobacco Program, call 970-224-5209.
New ways of coordinating care
Surveys show that mental health needs continue to grow each year in Larimer County. One way the Health District’s Connections adult mental health and substance use program is addressing the increasing demand for behavioral health care is by adding care coordinators to its team. Three coordinators now provide assessments and referrals to services for incoming clients, freeing up clinicians to focus on those with more complex or urgent needs.
“Our shift to a care coordinator model lets us more efficiently serve clients, while giving Connections therapists more time to devote to direct services like short-term therapy,” says Jen Head, Connections behavioral health provider lead. She adds that the coordinators are all “excellent investigators” able to research and identify community resources and providers who can meet clients’ needs. They also follow up with clients and send information back to referring clinics.
Paige Marts brings years of experience in case management and servicing adults with high mental health needs to her role as a care coordinator. “I like this model and working on the front lines. I think care coordinators doing the initial assessment for incoming clients is an effective way to get them connected to the right level of care.”
In 2022, Connections served 3,393 clients in 10,242 total client contacts. The team was able to not only serve clients calling in or being referred for services, but also expand partnerships to help more residents overcome barriers to mental health care.
For example, Head met for several weeks with a criminal-justice involved client who needed emotional support while awaiting sentencing. She received the referral as part of a partnership with the Larimer County Pretrial Services, which runs a mental health intervention program for people charged with a crime, whose behavioral health issues may have impacted their actions. In the past, Head would not have had time in her schedule to take on this type of case.
“As you can see, the care coordinators really are vital to our success at Connections.”
For more information or to make an appointment, call 970-221-5551.
Simplifying health insurance
Michael and Meta Van Skiver experienced a lot of changes in the past two years. They launched their own business managing vacation rental properties, one son graduated from high school and began taking college classes, and their older son, who lives with autism, was still living at home and working part-time.
The family relies on Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) for health insurance coverage, in part because Michael has epilepsy and frequent seizures that require costly medications and ongoing care. Michael and Meta also quit jobs to devote their time to the new business. Medicaid is the government insurance program that provides free or low-cost health care to those with low incomes.
But in 2022, the eldest son aged into his own tax household, meaning the Van Skivers’ Medicaid determination would be based on a family of three rather than four, so the income limits are lower. That change, combined with fluctuating income from the new business, made the couple worried they could lose the health insurance they so desperately need.
“Medicaid is a confusing system—it’s not always clear when something changes whether you will lose your coverage,” Meta says. “It was stressful because we have to have health insurance.”
Fortunately, the Van Skivers found Larimer Health Connect, a free service of the Health District that helps residents find the best option for health insurance that meets their family’s needs and budget. Health Coverage Specialist Trudy Herman found that their Medicaid coverage was locked-in as part of the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency until their renewal date of October 31, 2023. None of their life changes would impact their health insurance before then.
Herman also explained that some family members may qualify for the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working Adults with Disabilities, which lets adults with chronic conditions pay a monthly premium to buy coverage.
“Health insurance is confusing for lots of people,” Herman says. “We’re here to help people understand all of their options for affordable health coverage.”
To learn more about Larimer Health Connect or to make an appointment, call 970-472-0444.
Dental care brings big smiles
Kathy-jo Novotny knew all about the great work of the staff at the Health District’s Family Dental Clinic, but she didn’t find her way into Dr. Leith Rupp’s chair until she lost her dental insurance after an unexpected layoff during COVID.
At the clinic, Novotny’s ailing mother went from having no teeth and unable to chew anything to getting a full set of dentures, and her brother, Shawn Salas, also became a patient of Dr. Rupp’s when he was unemployed and taking care of their mother. Novotny herself had private dental insurance for over 30 years through her job with a large hotel chain, but a fear of needles—and dentist offices in general—led to poor oral health and bad toothaches.
She hadn’t smiled in a photo for 10 years.
Finally, her brother convinced her to give Rupp and the clinic a chance. “I had not taken care of my teeth and I was paying the price. I decided I didn’t want to look like that or be in pain anymore,” Novotny says.
From the moment she walked in the clinic door, everyone was friendly and kind, she says. Hygienist Caitlin Mudroch was gentle and reassuring, and Rupp explained her options step by step with no pressure. The verdict? Rupp needed to pull all of her top teeth for dentures and replace an older bridge on the bottom.
“Patients can have different triggers from their past that bring anxiety or fear of the dental office,” Rupp says. “We all do our best to find ways to make each patient feel comfortable.”
Novotny credits Rupp with not only giving her a confident new smile, but also helping her overcome her fears. “This dental work was so huge for me—Dr. Rupp changed my life.”
The trio of family members decided to show their gratitude with a gift: a custom-made bobblehead doll that reads “Dr. Rupp - Best Dentist Ever.
In 2022, the Family Dental Clinic served 2,036 patients. For more information, call 970-416-5331.
Our services are open to those who live within the Health District, including Fort Collins, Laporte, Wellington, Livermore, Red Feather Lakes, and Timnath. The Health District serves residents of ALL INCOMES, though some services are specifically for families who have low incomes and no health insurance. Most services have a fee, but sliding fees are available to make good health affordable for all.
Foundation and Government Partners
Caring for Colorado Foundation
Connect for Health Colorado
Larimer County Behavioral Health Services
Larimer County Immediate Needs Grants
Larimer County Office on Aging
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
State of Colorado Senior Dental Program
Project and Service Partners
Alliance for Suicide Prevention
The BIPOC Alliance
The Center for Family Outreach
Chilson Senior Center
City of Fort Collins
City of Loveland
Colorado 8th Judicial District
Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
Colorado Dept. of Health Care Policy and Financing
Colorado Health Medical Group
Colorado Health Network
Colorado Opioid Synergy for Larimer and Weld
Colorado School of Public Health
Colorado State University (CSU)
CSU Dept. of Health and Exercise Science
CSU Franklin A. Graybill Statistical and Data Science Laboratory Services
CSU Health Network
CSU School of Social Work
Cultural Enrichment Center
Disabled Resource Services
Early Childhood Council of Larimer County
Eclectic of Northern Colorado
Estes Park School District
Estes Valley Library
Food Bank for Larimer County
Foothills Gateway, Inc.
Fort Collins Police Services (co-responder program)
Fort Collins Rescue Mission
Fort Collins Senior Center
Front Range Clinic
Imagine Zero Coalition of Larimer County
La Familia/The Family Center
Larimer County Community Justice Alternatives
Larimer County CSU Cooperative Extension
Larimer County Dept. of Health and Environment
Larimer County Dept. of Human Services
Larimer County District Attorney’s Office
Larimer County Interagency Oversight Group
Larimer County Office of Emergency Management
Larimer County Office on Aging
Larimer Court Support, Inc.
League of Women Voters of Larimer County
Loveland Life Center
Mental Health and Substance Use Alliance of Larimer County
New Belgium Care Clinic
North Colorado Health Alliance
North Range Behavioral Health
Northern Colorado Collaborative for Addiction and Recovery Supports (NOCO-CAReS)
Northern Colorado Harm Reduction Alliance
Northern Colorado Health Network
Partnership for Healthy Youth
Poudre River Public Library District
Poudre School District
Poudre Valley Hospital
Queen's Legacy Foundation
Rocky Mountain Family Physicians
Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Salud Family Health and Dental Centers
Sharing the Care Campaign of Northern Colorado
Spirit of Joy Church
SummitStone Health Partners
Thompson River Pediatrics
Thompson School District
UCHealth Aspen Club
UCHealth Family Medicine Center
UCHealth Healthy Hearts Program
UCHealth Medical Group
UCHealth Mountain Crest Behavioral Health Center
UCHealth Palliative Care
United Way of Larimer County
University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
University of Northern Colorado
Weld County Dept. of Health and Environment
The Yarrow Collective
Mental Health and Substance Use Connections
- Adult Connections
Answers, options, and support for adult mental health and substance use.
425 W. Mulberry, #101 • 970-221-5551
- Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Connections (CAYAC) Team
Answers, options, and support for youth and families. Early identification of areas of concern, assessment, and guidance for counseling or other treatment of mental health and substance use for youth and families.
425 W. Mulberry, #112 • 970-221-3308
Community Impact Team
Works with community partners to create systemic change, improve the effectiveness and availability of health care, reduce barriers, and improve the health of the community.
Family Dental Clinic
Dental services for adults and children.
202 Bristlecone • 970-416-5331
Heart Health Promotion
Screening and consultation with a nurse for cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose.
Integrated Behavioral Health Program
Providing integrated behavioral health care in safety net medical clinics.
Larimer Health Connect
Helping people understand health insurance and find the best options to meet their family’s health needs and budget; prescription assistance.
144 N. Mason, Unit 7 • 970-472-0444
Quit Tobacco Program
Support and resources to quit smoking, vaping, and/or chewing with the help of certified tobacco treatment specialists.
120 Bristlecone • 970-224-5209
|2022 Revenues, total: $13,007,303
|Property & Specific Ownership Taxes
|Grants and Partnerships
|2022 Expenditures, total: $11,337,670
|Programs and Services
|2022 Expenditures, by program: $10,212,296
|Connections and CAYAC
|Grants, Partnerships, and Special Projects
|Integrated Behavioral Health Program
|Health Care Access (Larimer Health Connect/Prescription Assistance and Policy)
|Heart Health Promotion and Quit Tobacco Program
|Assessment, Research, and Evaluation