Steamboat Springs The board of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has named Lisa Brown, the nonprofit’s chief fundraiser, as its acting CEO while the public health agency searches for a permanent replacement for Sue Birch.
Birch, who had been the VNA’s director for more than 15 years, resigned Dec. 30 to become executive director of the state’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing in the cabinet of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who takes office today.
Brown said the VNA’s challenge in 2010 was maintaining all of its programs in the face of limited resources. This year the agency is focused on keeping people in the health care system.
“Demand for services is up across the board,” she said. “Unfortunately, with economic uncertainty and the loss of jobs, people are putting off going to the physician’s office and taking care of themselves. We are (devoted to) helping people gain access to public benefits so they don’t get into a crisis situation.”
The primary mission of the VNA is to deliver wellness care on a number of fronts, from immunization clinics to prenatal care, tobacco prevention and education. The VNA operates a medical clinic in Craig that employs two physicians and a hospice and medical office in Steamboat Springs. All told, the VNA reaches 27,000 people living in Routt, Moffat and Jackson counties.
Brown became the agency’s director of development in 2009. She previously was program manager at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. She also is a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board.
Birch is a registered nurse and worked in that capacity at the VNA before becoming its top executive.
VNA spokeswoman Suzi Mariano said Brown’s background stands her in good stead to run the financial affairs of the VNA while other staff members provide expertise in delivering health care.
“We have a lot of other people on our staff with great clinical experience,” Mariano said.
Longtime director of clinical and quality service Diane Miller will continue playing a significant role in the health care programs, Mariano said.
VNA board president Dr. John Merrill, of Hayden ,expressed confidence in Brown.
“Lisa Brown has a hands-on knowledge of all of the integrated programs of the agency,” Merrill said. “This is in addition to her development and budgeting skills. We can anticipate as close to a seamless transition as possible.”
Merrill told the Steamboat Today in December that VNA’s 2011 budget is about $8 million, representing significant growth from its $3 million budget five years ago. He said the VNA is funded by local, state and federal governments, individual donors and state and national foundations.
The board of directors will appoint a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Birch. That person could be in place within two to three months, Merrill said late last month.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org