News and Events

Lorraine Archuleta Receives Ruth B. Wyper Award

Fruita, CO – January 29, 2013 – Family Health West recently awarded Lorraine Archuleta, their annual Ruth B. Wyper Award. This award is bestowed annually to an individual or entity that has had a significant impact on the well-being and mission of the Lower Valley Hospital Association d/b/a Family Health West. Lorraine was selected because of her years of dedication, dependability, reliability, impact of service, and her representation of Family Health West in the community.
“I’m truly honored,” said Lorraine, “Last night as Lori was presenting the award, I was thinking of a few co-workers and it wasn't until her last three words that it dawned on me -- oh my gosh it's me!” Lorraine began her career at Family Health West in 1981 as a medical records clerk. Over the years she has held other positions such as administrative assistant, contributions and marketing assistant, events coordinator and her current role as advertising manager. “My employment at Family Health West has been very rewarding. Over the years, I have been offered new tasks with some skills needed that I didn’t possess but it didn’t take long for me to master them,” said Lorraine, “My co-workers are extremely supportive, positive, and open to change. If there's one thing I've learned working at Family Health West, change happens and if you believe in our mission and go with the flow, the change will create a positive effect.”

The Ruth B. Wyper Award began in 1959 when two families wanted to honor their mother and grandmother after receiving care from Family Health West. Additionally, in appreciation of excellent laboratory services, one of the family members designated Family Health West’s laboratory as one recipient of estate proceeds. This annual award has been presented over the past 50 years to an individual or group who has had extraordinary involvement and provided exceptional service to the organization.
“Lorraine is a jack-of-all-trades and is known for doing whatever it takes to get the job done and to get it done right,” said Hospital Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer, Lori Henderson, “We are so fortunate to have Lorraine as part of our family.”

Clinical Informatics - New at Family Health West

Pam Foyster

Fruita, CO (December 23, 2014) – Family Health West is pleased to announce the addition of Pam Foyster to the Information Technology Department. Pam will fulfil the role of Clinical Informatics Director, a new position at Family Health West. “This is part of a very exciting move for us into the world of healthcare information, data, and improved connectivity to our patients and other healthcare providers along the Western Slope,” said Mark J. Francis, Family Health West President and CEO, “Pam’s responsibility is collaborating with staff and management in all patient-care departments to achieve the successful implementation of Cerner.”

Cerner is an international health care information technology corporation specializing in providing complete systems for hospitals and other medical organizations to manage and integrate all electronic medical records, computerized physician order entry, and financial information.

Pam moved to Grand Junction in 2012 from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “I love the extra sunshine here, shorter winters, and access to outdoor recreation year-round,” Pam commented. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Idaho State University, and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota. Pam has worked has worked in large hospitals in Salt Lake City and Seattle with a focus in Emergency and Critical Care, as well as rural healthcare settings. For the past three years, Pam has worked in supporting hospitals and physicians to achieve Meaningful Use, most recently at QHN for the Western Slope.
“This project will require significant amounts of time and staff resources in order to get the most out of our capital investment,” added Patrick Yount, Family Health West IT Director, “It will be hard work, but very rewarding as we maximize what the EHR (Electronic Health Record) can do for us internally and externally.”

In her free time, Pam enjoys skiing, road biking, hiking, backpacking, canyoneering and climbing, “I am very excited and happy to be part of this project and the evolution of Family Health West as an organization.”

Wendy Deister, RN, Named Director of Family Health West’s Kokopelli Healthcare Centers

Windy Deister

Fruita, CO (December 5, 2013) – Wendy Deister, RN, was recently promoted to Director of Family Health West’s Kokopelli Centers. Wendy will oversee the daily staff operations of the pain management, plastic surgery, wound care, coagulation, and rheumatology healthcare centers located on Kokopelli Boulevard. Wendy started working for Family Health West in 2008. “The skills that Wendy has developed over the past five years are valuable in helping Family Health West move forward with the many healthcare services provided at our Kokopelli Centers,” says Mark Francis, Family Health West CEO.

In addition to her new position, Wendy will continue to use her RN skills to assist Dr. KC Lewis at the pain center and Dr. Sandra Horvath-Dori and Dr. Jessica Mears with the infusion center. “I appreciate how the many modalities we offer make a cohesive practice for our patients,” says Wendy. “I’m delighted that I can become directly involved with the growth of Family Health West. I feel that this organization has a commitment to ‘community’ and that is important to me.”

Away from work, Wendy loves her hobby of photography and dabbles a little in sewing quilts. What’s on her bucket list? She wants to someday swim with sharks.

Jill Pinedo, RN, Named Director of AEC Nursing Services

Jill Pinedo

Fruita, CO (December 3, 2013) – Jill Pinedo, RN, was recently promoted to Director of Nursing for Family Health West’s long-term care facility. Jill started working as a staff nurse at Family Health West in 1995. Since then she has served in many capacities, including Staff Development, Infection Control, Minimum Data Set (MDS) Coordinator, Social Work, and Assistant Director of Nursing.

“We are very fortunate to have an employee with excellent qualifications to support our long-term care nursing staff,” says Cheryl Dean, Family Health West’s Nursing Home Administrator. “Jill understands our culture. She brings outstanding skills to meet the needs of our staff and residents.”

Jill says she enjoys being a part of the Family Health West organization, “Family Health West supports individual creativity, focuses on community, and strives for future growth and opportunity.” Away from work, Jill enjoys outdoor activities, Yoga, dance, and spending time with her family.

iVantage Health Analytics Names Family Health West Hospital as HealthStrong™ Award Winner for Excellence in Outcomes

FRUITA, CO (November 14, 2013) – Family Health West Hospital was recently recognized by iVantage Health Analytics as a HealthStrong™ Award winner for Excellence in Outcomes, reflecting top quartile performance among all acute care hospitals in the nation.

“We are proud to accept this award,” said Family Health West CEO and President, Mark J. Francis. “Our dedicated staff is committed to providing the best in healthcare services and this award demonstrates that commitment. However, we must thank our community for entrusting us with their care in the first place. We wouldn’t be here without them and we look forward to further expanding services to not only meet their healthcare needs, but to exceed their expectations in treatments and customer service.”

America’s rural communities are wonderful places to live, work, and visit. They are also communities where healthcare providers have the opportunity to provide innovative, affordable, and holistic primary care – a model for the rest of the country to follow as America transitions to a population wellness-based system of health care.

Unfortunately, these communities also face unique healthcare needs: a lack of healthcare providers, an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un-insured and under-insured citizens. While the Affordable Care Act may make health care more affordable for rural Americans, it won’t necessarily make it more accessible – a lack of public transportation, fragile infrastructures, and geographic barriers also must be overcome in order to ensure that all rural safety net providers can adequately meet the basic healthcare needs of their residents.

These are just a few of the messages being shared by the Colorado Rural Health Center, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and other local, state, and national rural stakeholders during the third annual National Rural Health Day celebration on Thursday, November 21, 2013.

“Family Health West Hospital receiving this award validates the quality of care that rural providers in Colorado provide to patients and is also a testament to the commitment and dedication of their medical and nursing staff that impact patients every day,” said Michelle Mills, CEO of the Colorado Rural Health Center.

iVantage Health announced the latest HealthStrong Award™ winners at the annual meeting of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health held this October in Asheville, NC. The HealthStrong Awards are based on The Hospital Strength Index™, a national ratings program developed by iVantage to recognize top performing hospitals based on key metrics critical to success in the new healthcare marketplace. The Hospital Strength Index ranks all 4,400+ U.S. general acute care hospitals, including the 1,300+ Critical Access Hospitals. The Index is based on eight performance categories, measuring 56 different performance metrics. The Index offers
hospital executives, trustees, and boards of directors an objective way to measure their relative performance internally and among their peers.

Small and rural hospitals play a critical role in providing efficient and effective health care that is comparable to larger, urban counterparts. “Rural hospitals have new and difficult demands that can only be managed with better information. The Hospital Strength Index reflects the multiple challenges of running a hospital by incorporating the measures on which the industry has worked to gain consensus and standardization,” said John Morrow, Executive Vice President of iVantage Health Analytics, Inc.

iVantage Health Analytics® is a privately held company serving more than 500 hospitals across the United States. iVantage Health provides comprehensive and objective information products to help hospitals and health systems improve performance. For more details about iVantage Health Analytics or the Hospital Strength Index or to schedule an interview, please call Amy Weickert, at 207-245-6769 or email at More information about the Hospital Strength Index™ and the HealthStrong™ Awards can be found at

The Colorado Rural Health Center was established in 1991 as Colorado's State Office of Rural Health. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, CRHC's serves dual roles as the State Office of Rural Health with the mission of assisting rural communities in addressing health care issues; and as the State Rural Health Association, advocating for policy change to ensure that rural Coloradoans have access to comprehensive, affordable health care services of the highest quality. For more information visit, call 303-832-7493, or call toll free 800-851-6782 from rural Colorado.

Ladies’ Appreciation Night At Fruita Community Center

Fruita, CO (October 31, 2013) – Dr. Rebecca Glasser of Canyon Creek Plastic Surgery will host a night of appreciation for the ladies November 7, 2013, beginning at 4:30 pm at the Fruita Community Center. Dr. Glasser, a plastic surgeon, along with other area specialists, will be on hand to provide information and products. “For the first hour, ladies will have the opportunity to visit the various tables to learn more about products and services related to health and beauty while enjoying refreshments provided by Family Health West,” said Dr. Glasser. “Beginning at 5:30, each specialist will provide a brief educational talk covering a variety of topics for women ranging from disease prevention to looking their best.”

“We are excited to bring these knowledgeable experts together for an evening of education and fun,” said Angelina Salazar, Family Health West Director of Communications. “We encourage participants to reserve a space early since seating is limited.” The schedule of speakers and topics is as follows:

Dr. Rebecca Glasser, Canyon Creek Plastic Surgery
“Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction—Which Is the Better Option for You?”

Dr. Amy Paul, Mountain West Dermatology
“What Is a Dermatologist and Her Role in Skin Care?”

Dr. Joyce Sekharan, Advanced Skin Care & Laser Center
“Aging and the Loss of Collagen”

Dr. April Schulte-Barclay, Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions
“Exploring the Benefits of Integrative and Collaborative Healthcare for Looking and Feeling Our Best from the Inside Out”

To reserve space or to learn more, call 858-2595.

Ladies’ Appreciation Night At Fruita Community Center

Fruita, CO (October 16, 2013) – Dr. Rebecca Glasser of Canyon Creek Plastic Surgery will offer a “Night of Appreciation for the Ladies” on November 7th beginning at 4:30pm at the Fruita Community Center. Dr. Glasser, a plastic surgeon at Family Health West along with a host of other area specialists, will be on hand to provide information and products. “The first hour, ladies will have the opportunity to walk around to various tables to learn more about products and services related to health and beauty while enjoying refreshments provided by Family Health West,” said Dr. Glasser, “At 5:30, each specialist will provide a brief talk educating women on a variety of topics ranging from disease prevention to looking their best.”

The other specialists include Dr. Joyce Sekharan of General Surgeons of Western Colorado, Dr. Amy Paul of Mountain West Dermatology, and April Schulte of Healing Horizons. “We are excited to bring these knowledgeable experts together for an evening of education and fun,” said Angelina Salazar, Family Health West Director of Communications, “We encourage people to reserve their space early since space is limited.” To reserve space for this 4:30 – 7:30 pm event, call Neta at 858-2211.

Family Health West Welcomes New Plant Operations Manager

Fruita, CO (October 16, 2013) – Family Health West has recently welcomed Gene Farnsworth as the Plant Operations Manager. Gene was born in El Monte, California, but has lived in Mesa County since 1995. A results-driven leader with many years of experience in project management, safety, occupational health, and operations, Gene is a proponent of process improvement and work process controls. “I’m skilled in planning, budgeting, team building, and management,” said Gene, a former Lieutenant for the US Navy, “I believe I have demonstrated excellence in working effectively with all levels of employees, leaders, and community members.”

Gene has managed many projects during his career in a variety of fields, including energy conservation services, facilities management, and occupational health.

“Gene is an outstanding addition to our healthcare team,” said President and CEO, Mark Francis, “He brings a wealth of experience to the organization and an uncompromising drive to succeed.”

In his free time, Gene enjoys biking, hiking, and playing with his kids.

Family Health West Offers Lunch and Learn

Fruita, CO (October 15, 2013) – Family Health West invites you to have lunch and learn about their extended care services. During the month of November, Family Health West will provide lunch every Thursday at Noon (excluding the 28th due to the Thanksgiving holiday). “It’s a difficult decision to make when choosing long term care for yourself or a loved one,” said Administrator of The Willows Assisted Living facility, Kayren Goss, “We want to ease the process for people as much as possible.” Jason Davis, Administrator of The Oaks Assisted Living, agrees, “Over a delicious lunch, the extended care team will provide information on how we take care of those who can no longer live independently, as well as share the convenience of having access to our ten other healthcare facilities in Fruita.”

The lunches will take place in the Adult Extended Care building located at 228 N. Cherry Street in Fruita. Long-term care professionals will be on hand to answer any questions attendees may have and provide information on the full continuum of services available for the entire family at Family Health West.

Seating is limited so please reserve your space by calling 970-858-2211.

Arthritis Center Of Western Colorado Welcomes New Rheumatologist

Dr. Jessica Baer Mears

Fruita, CO (October 9, 2013) – The Arthritis Center of Western Colorado, a service of Family Health West, is proud to welcome Dr. Jessica Baer Mears to the practice. Located at 576 Kokopelli Blvd, Suite D, in Fruita, the Arthritis Center of Western Colorado specializes in complex rheumatologic diseases and conditions. Dr. Baer Mears will join the Center due to an increased community need. “The Arthritis Center of Western Colorado is already booked out months in advance,” said Family Health West CEO and President, Mark Francis, “We are thrilled to have Dr. Baer Mears here to provide her expertise in helping people improve their quality of life and achieve disease control.”

Dr. Baer Mears attended Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California, and then completed her internal medicine residency at Michigan State University, Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. She completed her rheumatology fellowship at Michigan State University/McLaren-Greater Lansing Hospital. She is a member of several associations including the American College of Rheumatology, the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the American Osteopathic Association and a member of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry.

Dr. Baer Mears looks forward to joining the Family Health West team of health care professionals, “I am very excited to join Dr. Horvath-Dori and to be a part of Family Health West and the Arthritis Center of Western Colorado!" Her interests outside of work include genealogy, playing the piano, spending time with her husband, Dr. Roy Mears and enjoying her Yorkshire Terrier, Snickers.

Dr. Baer Mears is accepting patients, but they must have a physician’s referral. Please call 970-858-2590 for more information.

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