Health Care Systems Issues

This page features stories of rising health care costs, ideas for improving health care, thoughts on health care reform, and workforce challenges. Listen to these stories, visit our Featured Stories page, or search for stories by topic or by location.


Lares – Alamosa, CO

LaresF - Alamosa, COLares, of Alamosa, shares her health story. She shares her anxieties around navigating the health care system, finding the right provider, and the need for more humanity in health care.

“I think that [in] our health care system, because it’s just so massive, that personal connection and the humanity of it gets lost really easily.”


Sarah – Colorado Springs, CO

Sarah - Colorado Springs, COSarah, a behavioral health provider in Colorado Springs, describes integrated care in her geriatric clinic. At their clinic, they have worked to tweak the “co-visit” to help both patients and their families.

“Her family [wasn’t] understanding how she was experiencing the world. And the provider and I were able to say medication isn’t going to do anything. And that united front really helped that family to understand.”


Denali – Denver, CO

denalijohnsonDenali, of Denver, shares her story of a serious ski accident and the subsequent search for quality care while covered under her family’s military health plan.  Although she was able to access the military system, her care lacked consistency and coordination.

“I kept having these spasms and nobody really knew what was going on.  I had no consistent medical records and there was just no conversation between any of these providers that I had been seeing…”



Sarah – Colorado Springs, CO

Sarah - Colorado SpringsSarah, a registered nurse in Colorado Springs, shares her story of giving birth to her first child. She experienced unfortunate and unpredictable circumstances during and after her medically induced delivery.

“The moment we got home, my husband called 9-1-1 because I was having seizures.”


Scott and Diane

Scott and Diane – Thorton, CO

Scott and Diane are married and have two teenage girls. Their private small company employers recently decided to stop offering health insurance options to employees. Suddenly faced with new health issues, the couple has experienced great difficulty locating an affordable health insurance option that would give Scott access to the prescription he needs.

“We were finally able to get insurance for our two children but for our entire family the health care that we’ve been aware of pretty much would be the difference of whether or not we pay for our mortgage or our health insurance.”


Michelle – Colorado Springs, CO

Michelle - Colorado Springs, CO

Michelle is a Physician Assistant at a clinic in Colorado Springs who discusses her commitment to “whole person” care. She shares a particular story about treating a woman from this holistic perspective, the impact it had on her patient’s life.

“It was nice to see that a lot of different aspects could come together and really make a person feel whole in themselves.”


John – Durango, CO

John - Durango, CO

John, a medical student in Denver, CO who did his rural rotation in Durango, shares his story about how developed a passion for medicine. He talks about his time volunteering in the Chiapas region in Mexico, and the similar struggles of chronic disease and poor access to care amongst citizens in the United States.

“There’s a big discussion about safety net clinics and safety net health care systems and the people who are making decisions are so detached from the reality on the ground, in terms of health care, that they’re more likely to do away with them.”


Colton – Fort Collins, CO

Colton shares his and his father’s health story of chronic Lyme disease and holistic approaches to health. Both he and his father struggled to get their insurance company to pay for alternative treatment methods. His experience has led him to pursue a career path in medicine.

“This experience for me has … inspired me to go into medicine. I want to get to a place where I can be treating people … who went to every doctor in the world and no one could tell them anything.”



Joan – Colorado Springs, CO

Joan, of Colorado Springs, CO, volunteers at a dental clinic and shares her experience supporting individuals with and without dental insurance. She also describes how invaluable dental care is, particularly for people looking for employment.

“The dental needs that I see here in this city are humongous and there’s no good answer, there’s no real solutions for it…”


Elizabeth – Colorado Springs, CO

Elizabeth, a student in Colorado Springs, shares her story about struggling with a chronic disease and affording the care and medication needed to live.

“All of these bills every three months are just piling up and so my parents actually had to go bankrupt over medical stuff.”


Bebe – Littleton, CO

Bebe, who works in Littleton, CO shares her health story. She talks about her role as the Executive Director of Doctors Care and the impacts of safety net clinics in Colorado.

“The safety net, as we continue on, is going to be the better guide.  It is not going to change the fact that there are sick people and well people, but when you add that [existing barriers connecting to poverty] all together the safety net is prepared to be the better guide…”

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark Earnest – Denver, CO

Dr. Mark Earnest is a Professor in the Division of General Medicine for the University of Colorado and the Co-Founder and Director of the LEADS Program. He is also a Denver resident, and tells the story of a patient who sought treatment for kidney disease and her struggle to afford the necessary care. He wants to share her story to show how the medical system could be different, in a way that overcomes people’s fear about change.

“Isn’t it enough that somebody has lost their kidneys and now has to be on dialysis? Do we have to completely ruin them before we provide care?”