PHOTO ESSAY: Ribbon Cutting for Archuleta Integrated Healthcare

Story & photos by Karla Sluis/Axis Health System

The parking lot overflowed, the food nearly ran out, guests stood elbow to elbow, and one snip of a big red ribbon kicked off the celebration at Archuleta Integrated Healthcare on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Axis Health System executive leaders and board members cut the ribbon to officially open Archuleta Integrated Healthcare. From left: Board Vice-President Bill Warren, AHS Board member Bob Juskeovich, Chief Clinical Officer Pam Wise Romero, Chief Operating Officer Shelly Burke, Board President John Albright, Chief Executive Officer Bern Heath, and board members Matt Dodson of Pagosa Springs, Bob Yearout and (far right) Board Secretary Karen Sheek.

Approximately 200 people turned out on a sunny afternoon for the Ribbon-Cutting & Open House event at the new healthcare facility at 52 Village Drive, behind City Market in Pagosa Springs. Axis Health System (AHS) executive leaders and board members joined with town and county officials to formally open the 10,275-square-foot outpatient clinic. There were brief presentations, and a celebratory speech by Pagosa Springs Mayor Don Volger.

Pagosa Springs Town Manager Greg Schulte, Pagosa Springs Mayor Don Volger and Axis Health System CEO Bern Heath enjoy a conversation during a tour of the new building at 52 Village Drive on August 10.

“Bern has always cared about Pagosa Springs. Fifteen years ago he said, ‘Someday you’ll have a facility,’ and he never forgot,” said Volger, referring to Bern Health, CEO of Axis Health System. “This facility is designed to provide the best integrated care possible. It’s amazing. It’s a miracle. And we have it right here in Pagosa Springs.”

At the event, guests toured the building with a “Passport to Archuleta Integrated Healthcare.” Staff members described different elements that make up whole person healthcare. AHS Board Secretary and Board Development Chair Karen Sheek said she was pleased with the nice turnout and interest in the self-guided tour.

“We hope that as you tour the facility, if you don’t know about integrated health you’ll have a chance to learn about this new way of practicing healthcare, which you’ll then share with your friends and neighbors,” said Sheek. “You have a wonderful opportunity to have access to some high-class, high-level healthcare in this facility.”

Guests explored the rooms and enjoyed refreshments by the Alley House Grille. People who collected ten stamps on their Passports could enter to win a gift basket of goodies from The Choke Cherry Tree or a floral arrangement.

Fran Schreiber-Custer, a new Physician Assistant at Archuleta Integrated Healthcare, describes whole person care as guests listen. Whole person care includes behavioral and primary healthcare in a care team approach.

“This is pretty neat to be able to talk to the staff and figure out how they mix mental health with physical stuff,” said resident Brenda Carlson, who attended with her granddaughter Chloe, 7. “I need the last stamp, where can I get it?” said an excited Chloe, referring to her unfinished Passport tour card.

After the Adobe Building fire in October 2016, Axis Health System’s team at Pagosa Springs Behavioral Healthcare (PSBH) was displaced, and relocated to a temporary site. In early June, the PSBH team moved into Archuleta Integrated Healthcare and became part of the evolving care team. Local resident Fran Schreiber-Custer has joined the team to provide primary care, and will be regularly and fully available this fall. AIH will benefit the community by providing integrated care for the whole person, including primary and behavioral healthcare; and offering payment options for people who are uninsured or underinsured, with a sliding-fee discount for those who qualify

“This was a team effort to accomplish what we set out to do here. It’s really wonderful to see the collaboration,” said AHS Board President John Albright. “Everybody should have access to good healthcare, and we believe this facility will provide that.”

Archuleta Integrated Healthcare staff members relax before Open House event on August 10. From left: Fran Schreiber-Custer, Physician Assistant; Kristi Talamante, Medical Assistant; Celia Lowry, therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and Lurenda Taylor, Administrative Coordinator.

Axis Health System has been providing quality care across the lifespan in Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, San Juan and Archuleta counties for more than 40 years. AHS has nine locations in Southwest Colorado and offers primary, behavioral and oral healthcare. Learn more at


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