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Forum to assess health care impacts in Steamboat

Event features speakers addressing new bill’s effects on businesses

Ralph Pollock
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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council forum, “How do the Changes in Health Care Legislation Impact You and Your Business?”

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today

Where: The Steamboat Grand

Cost: $18 for Chamber members, $25 for nonmembers; prices include lunch

Contact: RSVP to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association by calling 970-875-7000 or e-mailing RSVP@steamboatcha...

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council forum, “How do the Changes in Health Care Legislation Impact You and Your Business?”

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today

Where: The Steamboat Grand



Cost: $18 for Chamber members, $25 for nonmembers; prices include lunch

Contact: RSVP to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association by calling 970-875-7000 or e-mailing



“>RSVP@steamboatcha…

— A forum today is intended to help local employers unravel potential impacts of the federal health care overhaul that was made law this year.

The Steamboat Springs Eco­nomic Development Coun­cil is hosting the event from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Steamboat Grand. A panel of speakers will address issues including businesses’ health insurance plans, impacts to Yampa Valley Medical Center, expanded coverage for Routt County residents and physicians’ perspectives on the sweeping legislation that will play out for years to come.

Ralph Pollock, CEO of the Denver-based international business consulting firm AsiaPacific Access, is one of today’s speakers. Pollock is a former founder and president of Business Health Forum, a Colorado nonprofit organization that helps businesses create sustainable health care plans. A frequent speaker on health care issues, Pollock said the health care overhaul spins an intricate web of tax credits, benefits and insurance options that can be confusing for small-business owners.

Pollock said Tuesday that two of the most common questions he hears about the legislation are: “What’s in it for me?” and “What’s going to happen right away?”

He said he plans to address those questions today, while leaving time for questions and handing out informational materials to help business owners assess their options.

“I think most of the people in the audience are going to be small employers,” Pollock said. “This (legislation) could be really complex in terms of tax credits, etc.”

The health care legislation made waves with a large local employer earlier this year. In March, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond expressed concern with a policy that could fine large businesses that don’t insure seasonal employees who qualify as full-time workers. Two Democratic members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. John Salazar and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, said they would work with Colorado’s ski industry to address those concerns.

The situation was an example of impacts from the legislation arising as it was becoming law — a pattern that still is unfolding.

“More than anything, this is new,” said Lisa Brown, director of development for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. Brown also will speak at today’s event. “People are working on getting their heads around what the changes will be,” she said.

Other speakers today in­­clude Steve ErkenBrack, of Rocky Mountain Health Plans; Karl Gills, of Yampa Valley Medical Center; and Dr. Brian Harrington, of Yampa Valley Medical Associates.

ErkenBrack and Pollock served on Colorado’s Blue Rib­bon Commission for Health Care Reform. ErkenBrack is chairman of a health care committee for Club 20, the conservative-leaning Western Slope advocacy group.

Pollock said today’s event is not to discuss the merits of the health care legislation, but rather what it means for employers.

Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Asso­ciation, said the Chamber has been hearing questions from member businesses about the legislation.

“We wanted to provide an overview of the legislation and look at what the various impacts would be to various types of businesses,” she said. “There are things that we do know that are in the legislation that exist today — the specifics on how it rolls out, that’s yet to be determined.”


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