GRECC Connect VIRTUAL Geriatrics Site - Denver, CO

Team Members

Larry Bourg, MD: Geriatrician at the Denver VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric CVT visits to CBOCs and contract nursing homes.

Skotti Church, MD: Geriatrician and clinician-educator. Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Director and Education Lead for the GRECC. Directs curriculum development, interprofessional case conferences, CVT curriculum, geriatric and palliative care SCAN-ECHO series, and GRECC-related Allied Health Trainee activities.

Morgan Elmore, DO: Palliative care physician at the Denver VA Medical Center, and Facility Lead for the implementation of the Life-Sustaining Treatment Initiative. Involved in tele-palliative care CVT visits and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Stephanie Hartz, LCSW: Geriatric social worker dedicated to VIRTUAL Geriatrics and Denver VA Home-based Primary Care program. Completes psychosocial assessments, gathers collateral information to supplement interdisciplinary team evaluation via CVT, assists patients and families with complex psychosocial issues, and provides resources for caregivers.

Carolyn Horney, MD: Geriatrician and Home-based Primary Care provider at the Denver VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric CVT visits and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Steven Huart, AuD: Audiologist and Supervisor of the Audiology Department at the Denver VA Medical Center, involved in interdisciplinary case conference presentations and SCAN-ECHO presentations.  

Hillary Lum, MD, PhD: Geriatrician, palliative care physician, and clinician-researcher. She is the medical director of the VIRTUAL Geriatrics Program, involved in tele-palliative care CVT visits, and assists with SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Kathryn Nearing, PhD: Associate Director for Education and Evaluation of the VA Eastern Colorado GRECC. Develops evaluation methods for education and clinical demonstration projects related to VIRTUAL Geriatrics and related programs.

Elizabeth O’Brien, PharmD: Clinical Geriatric Pharmacy Specialist who provides pharmaceutical recommendations focusing on medication optimization in older adults with use of potentially inappropriate medications and polypharmacy. Director of the Pharmacy Residency program and involved in interdisciplinary case conference presentations and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Laurence Robbins, MD: Geriatrician at the Denver VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric CVT visits and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Robert Schwartz, MD: Geriatrician and Director of the VA Eastern Colorado GRECC, board certified in geriatric medicine and endocrinology. Participates in interdisciplinary case conference presentations and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Karen Shea, MD: Geriatrician and Home-based Primary Care Director at the Denver VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric CVT visits and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

Joleen Sussman, PhD: Geriatric Clinical Psychologist, Dementia Care Program lead, and clinical psychology intern Director. Provides neuropsychological evaluations and non-pharmacological recommendations regarding mental health issues and caregiver support via CVT visits. Involved in interdisciplinary case conference presentations and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

*For more information or questions about the Eastern Colorado Virtual Geriatrics Program please contact Hillary Lum at

Highlights of modalities and implementations

The GRECC Connect VIRTUAL Geriatrics Program at Eastern Colorado GRECC encompasses an interprofessional team consisting of a geriatrician, palliative care physician, geropsychologist, geriatric pharmacist, and geriatric social worker. The team receives referrals from all six rural and highly rural CBOC providers in Eastern Colorado regarding complex, geriatric related cases or palliative care cases. The majority of these patients live a great distance from geriatric and palliative care specialty services, which are currently only available at the Denver VA Medical Center. These Veterans often have significant functional or symptomatic limitations that make traveling great distances a challenge.  Providers can access the Virtual Geriatrics Program through a menu of services clinical video teleconference visits (CVT) for geriatric evaluations, including Memory clinic or palliative care consultation. All consults have input from the interdisciplinary team, including audiology, and with a focus on community resources, medication management, and caregiver assessment and communication with the local PACT team. The VIRTUAL Geriatrics interprofessional team triages each consult to ensure that the service requested is most beneficial and appropriate for the provider and patient. Patient and caregiver interactions may occur at the designated rural CBOC sites or the Veteran’s home via Tablet or Virtual Medical Room technology.


Lum HD, Bray-Hall S, Robbins L, Nearing K. Primary Palliative Care Educational Series for Rural Interprofessional Teams. Poster presentation at: Geriatrics and Extended Care Leadership Conference; April 2017.

Other related programs

Our GRECC Connect VIRTUAL Geriatrics program receives generous support from the VA Office of Rural Health, and the VA Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care in close linkage with the national VA Geriatric Scholars Program. Infrastructure, space and personnel are provided through the support of our local VA hospital, the Eastern Colorado Health Care System, and the Eastern Colorado VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECC). This GRECC collaboration allows our program to access unique expertise in dementia care, home-based primary care, palliative care, spinal cord injury, audiology, and geriatric pharmacy.
The Eastern Colorado VA VIRTUAL Geriatrics program is also closely linked with the geriatric primary care team, the Denver-based and Pueblo-based Home-based Primary Care (HBPC) team, Medical Foster Home (MFH) program, Contract Nursing Home (CNH) program, and Palliative Care Program at the Denver VA. Many of the VIRTUAL Geriatrics team members overlap with our core Geri-PACT members. Our team believes that a strong connection between VIRTUAL Geriatrics and other Geriatric and Extended Care programs is essential to harnessing geriatric and palliative care expertise and expand this type of interdisciplinary telehealth programming to areas beyond the reach of the established catchment areas of our local VA hospital campus. 
Eastern Colorado GRECC Geriatric and Primary Palliative Care SCAN-ECHO Series: This series is designed to meet the needs of multidisciplinary, rural-based VA healthcare team members. Now in its third year, participants representing all VISNs, especially in rural and highly rural areas, have participated in the bi-weekly virtual conference sessions that run from January through October. Key geriatric and primary palliative care topics are addressed through a 30-minute PowerPoint didactic and, subsequently, through the discussion of related cases to further engage those on the call/video link.
Each year, we offer 20 unique sessions for multidisciplinary VA personnel, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians, psychologists, and rehabilitation specialists. Popular session include Diabetes Management in the Elderly, Parkinson’s Disease, Alcoholism in the Elderly, Dementia Treatment, Symptom Management in ALS, Special Topics in Caring for Older Adults, Hearing Loss, and Home Based Primary Care: An Interdisciplinary Team. Sessions take place the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays from 2 to 3 pm (EST). Continuing Education Credits are available for nursing, pharmacy and psychology.
Older Veteran Engagement Team (OVET): To improve the health of older veterans through the development of innovative and responsive clinical, educational and research initiatives, the Eastern Colorado GRECC is establishing an Older Veteran Engagement Team (OVET).  This team will be comprised of Denver-area Veterans and caregivers who will meet in person, as well as rural Veterans and caregivers who will use tablets to participate from home.  The board will meet monthly; however, the composition of the group that meets at any one time will be interchangeable, thus providing enhanced flexibility to respond to an array of topics and needs while not over-taxing those serving on the board.  OVET members will provide critical input/insights used to inform the (1) implementation of new clinical models and health services, (2) design and implementation of research, and (3) tailoring and delivery of educational activities, such as Virtual Geriatrics.  OVET will be a key strategy to optimize the impact of our work on behalf of our aging Veterans and their families and represents an innovation that will enhance the capacity of the ECHCS GRECC and VISN 19 to respond to national priorities.

Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2021, 1:18 PM