Telluride Med Center: Scheidegger Honored For Impact On Underserved Patients

The Telluride Regional Medical Center announced this week their own Paula Scheidegger has been awarded the Kaiser Permanente Educational Loan Repayment for Safety Net Clinical Support Staff.

The purpose of – get ready for a mouthful – the Kaiser Permanente Educational Loan Repayment for Safety Net Clinical Support Staff program is to support retention of high-performing clinical support staff working in underserved areas.

Out of 91 applicants, the Telluride Med Center’s Paula Scheidegger is one of only 14 recipients to receive the recognition and award.

As Practice Manager at Telluride Regional Medical Center, Scheidegger spends her time reviewing operations, developing policies and procedures, monitoring the budget, managing grants for underserved populations, and acting as a liaison between the Primary Care and the Emergency Department.

Additionally, she oversees care management tasks for the clinic’s high-risk Hispanic patients.

“My position at the medical center has provided me with an incredible platform to make a difference in the lives of so many people,” said Scheidegger.“Since moving to this community, I’ve been embraced and I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to give back to the people of our region.”

Scheidegger and her family fled Colombia in 1999 under political asylum to seek refuge in the United States. She attended the University of Miami where she double majored in Biology and Marine Science. After graduation she followed her husband to his home of Ridgway.

“When we arrived I was unsure how I would put my education to use, so I applied for a front-desk position at the med center until I could find something in my field, Scheidegger added.

That decision, now nearly a decade ago, changed the course of her professional life forever.

Scheidegger worked her way up the ranks from Front Desk Associate/Medical Interpreter, to Medical Assistant, to Care Manager, to her current position as Manager of Primary Care.

While this transition has been extremely rewarding, it has also been expensive. In 2014, Scheidegger attended a one-year, accelerated nursing program at Regis University in Denver, where she received a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree, Dean’s list recognition – but was left with $60,000 in student debt.

“The degree allowed me to continue my passion for serving underprivileged populations in a rural setting in a more hands-on way, but the financial burden has been cumbersome,” said Scheidegger.

The loan repayment award from Kaiser Permanente will go towards those debts.

“Paula truly makes an impact on the underserved in Colorado,” said John Gardner, the Medical Center’s CEO. “And we just couldn’t be more thrilled she was selected for this award.”

Telluride Regional Medical Center provides the highest quality, comprehensive Primary Care and exceptional Emergency / Trauma Services. Since 1978 the medical center has evolved, wherever possible, right along with complex healthcare technologies and population growth while remaining within the 10,000-square-foot remodeled residential building, built in the 1960s.

Currently the Telluride Hospital District is working to secure a site for a new facility to serve the needs of the region today, tomorrow and fifty years into the future.

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