May 4, 2020

Area nonprofits complete merger and offer telehealth crisis care in Dolores County

Dove Creek, Colo. – The previously announced merger between Frontier Community Health Clinic (FCHC) and Axis Health System (AHS) became official on May 1st. The federal review of the two nonprofit healthcare entities was finalized in late April in support of the merger’s May 1st effective date. As Community Health Centers, both FCHC and AHS are committed to addressing the need for affordable and accessible medical, behavioral, and dental care.

As part of this merger, behavioral health care access is being expanded at the Dove Creek location.  Providing behavioral healthcare services through tele-video has gained significant momentum in rural regions across the country as an effective way to use technology for increased availability and access. AHS is now offering, walk-in behavioral health crisis services via tele-video at its Dove Creek location, Monday through Friday during business hours. Crisis services are available at no-cost to the patient. 24/7 local crisis support remains available through the Axis 24/7 Care Line at 970.247.5245.

AHS’s experience with telehealth services has expanded over the last several years and is being used successfully with basic crisis intervention services. Walk-in crisis services at the Dove Creek location will connect to an AHS crisis team staff using state-of-the-art tele-video equipment. As with all healthcare, these services are confidential and will align with all of the established standards for privacy, protection, referral, screening, or access to other appropriate care.  The addition of tele-video capacity will also allow AHS to provide a broader range of follow-up and ongoing behavioral healthcare and support at the Dove Creek location.

“Both AHS and FCHC celebrate long histories of providing healthcare services in southwest Colorado, and we honor that history by looking forward to the future and building a stronger healthcare system for the patients and our communities. Our goal is to continue to evolve high-quality care that is available to our community members across this region in an increasingly complex and volatile healthcare environment that favors enhanced technology and economies of scale,” said Shelly Burke, CEO of AHS. “The AHS and FCHC teams have worked together for months to set the right cornerstones of the merger’s foundation to achieve our common goals. We are excited to move into the next phase as one, aligned organization.”

Post-merger, AHS has approximately 270 employees providing high-quality services and programs to an estimated 12,000 patients across the five-county region of southwest Colorado. As a merged entity, AHS is committed to providing community-based healthcare and increased access to the residents of Dolores and Montezuma county, building on what FCHC has accomplished for Dolores and Montezuma counties. The FCHC staff, healthcare services, and clinic hours will not be disrupted by the merger, and Lincoln Pehrson, the former CEO of FCHC, is the new Chief Integration Officer for AHS and will continue to be based out of the Dove Creek location.