Assistance available in Cortez for health insurance issues

Are you still unsure about how to secure health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare)?

If so, contact a Southwest Health System patient financial representative for assistance. SHS is designated as an official Assistance Site for the Connect for Health Colorado program. Professionals stand ready to help individuals and families review their options and work through the process of applying for either Medicaid or for private insurance through Connect for Health Colorado. Because of expanded coverage, there are likely many Montezuma County residents who now quality for Medicaid who have not yet applied for this valuable service.

According to the Connect for Health Colorado website (, private insurance coverage began on Jan. 1, 2014, for Coloradans who completed the sign-up process by December 27. Coloradans who sign up before Jan. 15, 2014, will have health insurance coverage beginning on Feb. 1, 2014. Open enrollment for private health insurance extends until March 31, 2014. Medicaid enrollment is continuous year-round.

In Montezuma County, the following private insurance companies are participating in the Connect for Health Colorado program: Access Health Colorado; Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield/HMO Colorado; Colorado HealthOP; Rocky Mountain Health Plans; UnitedHealthcare.

In addition to helping area residents sign up for Medicaid or new insurance plans, SHS patient financial advisers are always available to assist patients who have questions about their insurance, hospital bills, and financial assistance programs. Call 564-2130 for more information.

Five ways to stick to your fitness resolution

Have you resolved to exercise regularly in 2014? If so, here are five tips that will help you strengthen your resolve and not let good intentions go by the wayside before Valentine’s Day rolls around.

1. Put workouts on your schedule. You wouldn’t just decide at the last minute not to pick up your kids from school, cancel an appointment with your hairdresser, or ignore a doctor’s appointment, would you? Put exercise in the same category as all of your other important appointments because you are important.

2. Exercise every day. Think of all the things you do every single day – brush your teeth, have a morning cup of coffee, check e-mail, watch the news on television. Just as those activities have become habits, you can make exercise a habit by engaging in it daily. This doesn’t mean you should embark on a mega-workout every day. Alternate longer/shorter, tougher/easier exercise sessions so that you don’t wear yourself out, but do something – even if it’s just a 20-minute walk on your lunch hour – every day to keep the momentum going.

3. Work out with a friend. Having an exercise buddy will help you stay accountable. If you’re meeting someone at a designation time to go to the gym, attend a yoga class, or go for hike you’ll be less likely to procrastinate or decide not to work out because you’re having a busy day. It’s more fun and more motivating than going it alone.

4. Track your progress. Start a notebook to record your daily workouts and track the type of exercise you did, how you felt before and after you exercised, and any milestones you reached. If weight loss is your goal, track that as well.

5. Reward yourself. Decide at the beginning of each month or quarter on a reward that you’ll give yourself if you stick to your workout schedule or achieve a specific goal that you set for yourself. Did you exercise every single day for a month? Buy yourself a new pair of walking shoes or go out for a healthy lunch with your workout buddy.

Making your end-of-life wishes known

Thinking about dying and discussing the details of end-of-life care may not be pleasant or easy, but it is important. One way to broach this subject with your loved ones is to be proactive and complete three “advance directive” forms that you should have one file. As you work on on your forms, involve family members and potential surrogate decision makers in the process. The three forms are:

Medical durable power of attorney. This form allows you to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so on your own. The person you designate cannot make financial decisions on your behalf, only decisions about your medical care.

Living will. This document tells your doctors, family, and friends what the extent of medical care and what types of interventions you would like to have performed in the event that you are in a persistent vegetative state or have a terminal illness and are unable to make your own decisions.

CPR directive. Complete this form if you do not want medical personnel to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on you if your heart and/or breathing stops.

Be sure to talk to your primary care provider about your choices. He or she can explain some of the clinical nuances related to end-of-life care and keep copies of your forms should they be needed.

Southwest Health Notes Health News Round Up is a public service feature provided by Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, Colorado. The information provided herein is not intended as patient-specific medical advice or as a substitute for consultation with your personal health-care provider.