Community Benefit


What Is Community Benefit?

Community benefits are programs or activities that provide treatment or promote health and healing as a response to identified community needs in such a way as to improve residents’ access to health care services, enhance the health of the community, advance medical or health knowledge, or relieve/reduce the burden on government or other community efforts. Southwest Health System’s community benefits include education, charity care, subsidized health services, community health improvement activities and more. For 2012, the Community Benefit figures are being reported in accordance with IRS Form 990 Schedule H requirements.


Through a community needs assessment conducted every three years, we gain a better view of the health needs and resources in the communities we serve. In partnership with families and community-based organizations, we are using what we learn to collaboratively address the most urgent needs. An assessment in collaboration with Axis Health System was conducted in 2012.


2012 Community Benefits

The mission of Southwest Health System is to provide the highest quality health care to our community by bringing excellence and service together to promote, improve and restore health. We envision a health system in which all providers work together to make excellent, patient-centered health services available to our community. Consistent with this mission and vision, the organization has worked throughout the years to improve community health by developing and sponsoring programs, creating educational opportunities, organizing events, and investing in our community. This report details just some of the ways that Southwest Health System served residents of Montezuma County and the surrounding area in 2012.


In 2012, SHS provided a total community benefit of $6,324,724.


Financial Assistance: During 2012, SHS provided $1,869,694 in care to more than 494 individuals and families who were unable to pay for their healthcare expenses

Government-Sponsored Mean-Tested Healthcare: In 2012, SHS delivered care to thousands of patients who were eligible for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs, Colorado Indigent Care Program, Indian Health Services and other public programs. The shortfall incurred by providing services under these programs was $3,620,100

Community Health Improvement Services: In 2012, SHS organized three public health education events. Topics included a diabetes symposium, women’s health symposium and non-invasive arthritis treatment. These education opportunities are open to the community and free of charge. Staff members and physicians donate their time and expertise to further community education and foster an environment that welcomes questions and community involvement.

To improve communication and provide additional healthcare education SHS published 11 educational columns, “Southwest Health Notes,” in the Cortez Journal. SHS also communicates with all county residents through a quarterly newsletter which provides education, information on upcoming events, and updates about the hospital.

Our Diabetes Education Program is nationally accredited and consists of a series of six classes which provided education to patients and healthcare providers at little or no cost. In 2012 the Diabetes Program participated in “Cooking Matters” presentations at local schools. The program will continue to grow and is aimed at better connecting Southwest Health System with the community and providing free education to area residents.

Nutritional education is provided free-of-charge to the majority of patients at Southwest Health System. The dieticians employed by SHS serve the community by providing education to local schools as well as to WIC program clients and other outpatients at little or no cost as most medical nutritional therapy is not generally covered by insurance. Dieticians also provide outpatient counseling for a variety of patients including those in need of cardiac rehab, diabetic patients, and pre-bariatric surgery patients. Dieticians provide nutrition education to patients in the office as well as in the community by providing a variety of teaching tools and experiences such as shopping trips and education on how to eat healthy when eating out by reviewing menu choices. In 2012 SHS dieticians also provided education to the public in a local lecture series hosted at the Cortez Recreation Center and participating with the “Cooking Matters” presentations.

In 2012 SHS launched the Community Paramedic Program. In keeping with our mission to provide high quality, accessible care to the community we opened the doors to our Community Paramedic Program. Located on Main Street in down town Cortez we offer free blood pressure and blood sugar checks as well as other routine screening tests. We encourage residents to drop by and ask questions. In 2012 SHS donated over 3,700 hours to community education and screening through our Community Paramedic program alone. SHS also provides EMS coverage for a variety of community, sporting, and education events in Montezuma County and the surrounding area.

Many of our staff members are employed solely or in part to support the community and health of patients. Some of these positions include Patient Advocate, Patient Financial Counselor, Diabetes Educator, Dietician, Social Worker and Discharge Planner, Education Coordinator, and Family Birthing Educator. SHS invested over $401,000 in 2012 in support of community health education.

Health Professions Education: Southwest Memorial is host to many students throughout the year. We have the opportunity to educate and train tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. Each year we open our doors to students in nursing, laboratory sciences, nutrition, pharmacy, and other health professions. In 2012, SHS invested over $20,000 supervising and training future health professionals.

Cash and In-Kind Contributions: Southwest Memorial made contributions of $31,460 in 2012 to support a variety of organizations in Montezuma County. We entertain a variety of requests from across the Four Corners region and support many of them to varying degrees.

Community Building Activities: Our staff’s commitment to improving the health of our community shines through in their volunteer efforts. Our staff volunteer to coordinate and manage the 9 Health Fair in Mancos and Cortez, participate in health fairs and the local schools, assist with the annual Teen Maze event, coordinate the Relay for Life event, provide judging at local school science fairs and much more.

SHS staff members participate in the Livewell Montezuma Coalition collaborating with community partners such as local schools, the county health department, the city parks and recreation department, and local social service programs to improve health and health education within our community.

Staff members donate their time to fundraise to support the Health Career Scholarship Program which is offered through the Southwest Memorial Hospital Foundation. The Foundation was able to support seven scholarship recipients due in large part to SHS staff volunteers who assisted in the fundraising efforts. Staff members also volunteered their time to fundraise for a new ambulance. SHS was able purchase a new ambulance in 2012 to better serve both Montezuma and Dolores Counties.

The Hospitality Services Department lent their expertise at the annual Taste of the Season event sponsored by the United Way. SHS staff served over 400 area residents. Proceeds of the event went to the United Way.

SHS provides the meeting space or local support groups including the Diabetes Support Group, Cancer Support Group, and Women’s Cancer Support Group. Many SHS employees volunteer their time to facilitates these meetings or participate as a healthcare professional and community resource. Southwest Memorial Auxiliary Members volunteer their time and talents to raise funds for SHS and provide support to patients and staff. In 2012 our Auxiliary Members donated over 7,800 hours in service.

Physician Recruitment: In 2012, Southwest Memorial made physician recruitment a priority and invested more than $381,500- in efforts intended to attract new doctors to our community. Our efforts paid off with great additions our Medical Staff. With the addition of Dr. Bohle SHS filled a community need for physician specializing in Women’s Health. Dr. Christian also filled the need for a Pediatrician in the community. As a Pain Management Specialist Dr. Cole brings with him services Montezuma County has never before offered. Dr. Zajchowski, Fowler, and Buckwalter also joined SHS offering their expertise as Certified Emergency Medicine Physicians. Dr. Shenk, Jeff McElwain, PA, and Zane Down, PA offer Family Practice Medicine in Southwest Memorial Physician’s Clinic, Mancos Valley Health Center, and Southwest Walk-in Care.

Southwest Health System considers requests for donations from area non-profit organizations. To submit a donation request please download this form.