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CarePoint Health doctors Don Stader and Ramnik Dhaliwal join Rep. Brittany Pettersen for HANDS Act announcement

Bill would make naloxone readily available to at-risk patients

CarePoint Health doctors Don Stader and Ramnik Dhaliwal join Rep. Brittany Pettersen for HANDS Act announcement

CarePoint Health emergency medicine physicians Don Stader and Ramnik Dhaliwal joined Colorado Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen (7th district) on August 31, 2023 — which was International Overdose Awareness Day — at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood as Pettersen announced a new bill aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic.

Dozens of hospital leaders and members of the media gathered outside Swedish as the congresswoman spoke about her Hospitals As Naloxone Distribution Sites (HANDS) Act, which would require Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE to cover the cost of naloxone given to patients upon discharge if they are deemed to be at risk of an opioid overdose. The goal of the bill is to prevent overdose deaths, reduce hospital readmissions, and limit financial burden on patients.

Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist, which means it binds to opioid receptors and reverses or blocks the effects of other opioids. Administering naloxone rapidly reverses the effects of opioid drugs and restores the patient’s normal respiration, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The bill is particularly meaningful to Pettersen, whose mom, after injuring her back when Pettersen was 6 years old, found herself “wildly addicted” to opioids after being prescribed “bottles and bottles” of the pain killers, Pettersen said. Her opioid addiction led to other addictions as well — prescription pills, alcohol, fentanyl, and, ultimately, heroin.

“We were never talked to about our options for naloxone,” Pettersen said. “We weren’t given a prescription. I didn’t even know it was an option.”

Thanks to Dr. Stader and the other emergency medicine doctors at Swedish, Pettersen’s mom survived. In fact, she just celebrated her sixth year in recovery.

“Dr. Stader is so special to me. He is a champion,” Pettersen said. “He saved my mom’s life many times.”

Dr. Stader has been an emergency medicine physician at Swedish for nine years. In 2021, he founded The Naloxone Project, the goal of which is “for all hospitals, labor and delivery units, and emergency departments to distribute naloxone to at-risk patients, placing naloxone in patients’ hands prior to their departure from the hospital.” Ninety-seven percent of Colorado’s emergency departments are now enrolled in the program.

Currently, prescriptions for naloxone are written and given to at-risk patients upon their discharge from the hospital, but less than 2% of those patients actually follow through on getting the prescription filled, Dr. Stader said.

“We cannot have a 98% failure rate for a fatal disease,” Dr. Stader said. “The HANDS bill eliminates all those barriers, starting with the reimbursement for hospitals. What it also does is strip the regulations that have made it impossible to hand patients a life-saving drug. Here in Colorado, we have to change the rules so we can provide patients with the care they deserve.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 million Americans meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder. Last year alone, 110,000 lives were lost to drug overdose.

If people like Pettersen and her mom continue to share their stories and pieces of legislation like the HANDS Act continue to be introduced and passed, stigmas can be erased and lives can be saved, Dr. Stader said.

“Your ability to give voice to the 43 million Americans who are struggling with addiction and be their champion is your power,” Dr. Stader told Pettersen at the press conference. “And it’s a power that I’m grateful to have in the halls of Congress advocating for policies that our country so sorely needs.”


Blue Sky Neurology's growth and expansion continue

6 inpatient providers start at Research Medical Center in Kansas City

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado — Blue Sky Neurology, an innovative inpatient neurology practice, continues to grow and expand as six new providers have begun to provide neurologic services at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Blue Sky began managing Research’s neurology needs via its BSN United arm just over two years ago, using a combination of Denver neurohospitalists and locums physicians for staffing. A high-volume comprehensive stroke center, Research is the hub hospital for many of the primary and rural hospitals across Kansas and Missouri which are covered by Blue Sky’s telehealth providers.

The six inpatient providers — neurohospitalists Anthony Harrington, Dan Kaplan, Ala Saleh, and Neena Viswanathan and physician assistant Isabella Baldacci and nurse practitioner Miranda Wahn — represent Blue Sky Neurology’s first permanent, boots-on-the-ground neurology group in Missouri. They will provide continuity of care and collaboration within the extensive Research network. Their start at Research sets the stage to build a center of excellence for neurological diseases at the 590-bed hospital.

“We are so fortunate to have a healthcare partner in Research Medical Center. Their commitment to providing the most advanced and innovative neurological care within the midwest division has created a vast referral network ideal for our neurohospitalists to continue to build upon,” said Blue Sky Neurology’s Dr. Emily Lampe, the stroke medical director at Research. “The growth of our neurosciences department on the Research Medical campus will provide faster and easier access to expert neurological care within southern Kansas City.”

Harrington, who spent four years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He completed his neurology residency at the University of Colorado and a neurology fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Kaplan, a chemist before transitioning into the field of medicine, went to medical school at Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and did both his neurology residency and a vascular neurology fellowship at the University of South Florida.

Saleh graduated from medical school at Hashemite University in Jordan. He went on to complete his neurology residency at the University of South Florida and a neurophysiology fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Viswanathan completed her medical training at Thanjavur Medical College in Tamil Nadu, India. After graduating from Thanjavur, she did her residency at the University of South Florida and remained at South Florida for a neurophysiology fellowship.

Baldacci graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Physician Assistant program while Wahn earned a Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Central Missouri. Wahn was a neurocritical care nurse at Research for five years before becoming an NP there. Her experience at Research will benefit the team greatly as relationships are built with all the hospital’s multidisciplinary teams.

With inpatient providers now in Missouri, Blue Sky Neurology has a presence in 20 hospitals across five states.

“Blue Sky Neurology continues to grow in the space of inpatient neurology coverage of hospitals,” Blue Sky Neurology and Blue Sky Telehealth medical director Dr. Chris Fanle said. “With this innovative collaboration with Research Medical Center, Kansas City is the sixth region around the country where Blue Sky is providing on-site neurohospitalist expertise.”


CarePoint's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team now serving patients at Sky Ridge

New unit features 1,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym

CarePoint's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team now serving patients at Sky Ridge

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado — CarePoint Health has partnered with Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, to open a 20-bed acute rehabilitation unit at the large hospital and level 2 trauma center.

CarePoint’s PM&R team had already been providing rehabilitation services at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver and at The Medical Center of Aurora and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. The PM&R providers’ additional presence at Sky Ridge will allow them to serve an even greater number of patients as Sky Ridge, a 304-bed hospital, is located right off the I-25 corridor and boasts a complete selection of medical and surgical specialties as well as hosts several medical and surgical residencies.

“With the addition of our new inpatient rehabilitation unit to Sky Ridge’s impressive arsenal of medical expertise and services, Sky Ridge is now able to provide the full continuum of care for patients, from admission for acute medical or surgical care to rehabilitation to a successful discharge home,” said CarePoint PM&R physician and unit medical director Xiaomeng Li, MD.

The 9,000-square-foot unit is located on the Garden Level of Sky Ridge’s Evergreen Building and features a 1,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym containing over 20 large-sized pieces of rehabilitation-specific equipment, including a Vector Gait and Safety System (used for gait training), a Biodex Balance System (used for dynamic and static balance testing) and a Tran-Sit Car Transfer Simulator (used for getting in and out of cars), as well as sufficient equipment to serve all 20 patients in their rooms.

Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, polytrauma, and orthopedic injury and surgery are some of the more common diagnoses seen by CarePoint’s PM&R providers, whose goal in every situation is to partner with the patient and create a coordinated rehabilitation plan to maximize independence in activities of daily living and improve overall quality of life.

“Having an inpatient rehabilitation unit at Sky Ridge allows us to collaborate with some of the area’s best doctors and serve a variety of patients in south Denver,” Li said. “My team and I are thrilled to be able to provide that final step to get patients home safely.”


CarePoint volunteers help prepare thousands of medical items for distribution overseas

CarePoint volunteers help prepare thousands of medical items for distribution overseas

On January 26, 2023, a CarePoint Cares team of 12 volunteered with the Denver-headquartered Project C.U.R.E., a service organization founded in 1987.

A team with reach on a global scale, Project C.U.R.E. facilitates the distribution of donated medical supplies to rural and underserved communities on nearly every continent. 

CarePoint Cares successfully helped prepare thousands of medical items, ranging from syringes to airway supplies, for distribution overseas.

CarePoint Cares will be back in action in April!

Service dog, currently in training with CarePoint physician, Dr. Susan Ryan, does her part to help in the ER

Service dog, currently in training with CarePoint physician, Dr. Susan Ryan, does her part to help in the ER
CarePoint physician Dr. Susan Ryan trains future service dogs from the time they are puppies. CNN recently did a feature on her and Wynn, both of whom are doing everything they can on the front lines at Rose Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Click here to read more about Dr. Susan Ryan and Wynn.