GRECC Connect VIRTUAL Geriatrics Site - Denver, CO

Team Members

  • Stephanie Hartz, LCSW, Site Director:Geriatric and palliative care social worker dedicated to VIRTUAL Geriatrics (tele-geriatrics) and tele-palliative care clinics. Completes psychosocial assessments, gathers collateral information to supplement interdisciplinary team evaluation via Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT) or VA Video Connect (VVC), assists patients and families with complex psychosocial issues and provides resources for caregivers and veterans. Leads outreach and coordination efforts to improve access for older rural veterans and family caregivers.

  • Sarah Beck, MD: Geriatrician at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric visits via CVT and VVC. Previously worked as a PACT provider for the last 6 years.

  • Elizabeth Ellis, 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 Geriatric Pharmacy Residency program and involved in interdisciplinary case conference presentations and SCAN-ECHO presentations.

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

  • Carolyn Horney, MD: Geriatrician and Home Based Primary Care provider at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, board certified in geriatric medicine. Involved in tele-geriatric CVT visits.

  • Steven Huart, AuD: Audiologist and Supervisor of the Audiology Department at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, involved in interdisciplinary case conference presentations, and supervises audiology trainees who rotate with Virtual Geriatrics.

  • Courtney, McGuire, LCSW: Research Social Worker and ECHCS Gerofit Program Coordinator. Completes evaluations and national reporting for the Virtual Geriatrics Program and related programs.

  • 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.

  • Clair Rummel, PhD, ABPP: Geriatric Clinical Psychologist and VISN 19 Clinical Resource Hub Geriatric Mental Health Lead.  Provides non-pharmacological recommendations regarding mental health issues and caregiver support via VVC visits.  Provides supervision for the SLC VA Psychology Fellowship program.  

  • Jill Steagall, NP: Adult nurse practitioner, board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine.  Completes palliative care visits via CVT and VVC with Veterans who have life limiting diagnosis focusing on goals of care conversations, symptom management and advance care planning. 

  • Lynette Kelley, FNP: Eastern Colorado GRECC Geri-TEC site lead and Geri-Navigator, focus on optimizing the virtual care experience and stakeholder and community engagement for older and cognitively impaired Veterans. Additional support to focus on coaching Virtual Geriatrics expansion sites, participating in the Virtual Geriatrics Adoption and Implementation Core group, providing qualitative Veteran and provider evaluation support.

*For more information or questions about the Eastern Colorado Virtual Geriatrics Program please contact Stephanie Hartz, Stephanie.Hartz@va.gov

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 nurse practitioner, geropsychologist, geriatric pharmacist, and geriatric social worker. The team receives referrals from rural and highly rural CBOC providers in Eastern Colorado regarding complex, geriatric related cases or palliative care cases. The majority of these patients and family caregivers live a great distance from geriatric and palliative care specialty services, which are currently only available at the Rocky Mountain Regional 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 a comprehensive memory evaluation clinic or palliative care consultation. All consults have input from the interdisciplinary team, 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.

presentations

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, Denver-based and Pueblo-based Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) team, Medical Foster Home (MFH) program, Contract Nursing Home (CNH) program, GeroFit Program, and Palliative Care Clinical Service at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center. 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: Friday, October 1, 2021, 4:18 PM