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Stronger Together: How Eagle County’s Health Care Workers Rose to the Challenge of COVID-19

The valley’s two largest health care providers, Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical, braced for the arrival of COVID-19 by stockpiling personal protective equipment before supply chains were overwhelmed and launching a system-wide high-level task force to solve logistical challenges as they arose. But when case numbers exploded locally in early March, there was no training to emotionally prepare for the reality of a novel virus that was highly contagious and deadly.

Caitlyn Ngam, Ken Stephen, Julie Scales and Mark Joffrion share their personal experiences in dealing logistically and emotionally with the pandemic. Working together on the same problems, with the same goals in mind, often times with different approaches, brought Chris Lindley and Dr. Brooks Bock together — and the two organizations they represented.

Colorado Mountain Medical’s merger with Vail Health in July 2019 had, on paper, already created a valley-wide health care network — but Lindley, Bock and Vail Health CEO Will Cook insist that it took a pandemic, of all things, to truly make the two providers inseparable. Each day brought new challenges, and with those challenges came spirited debates, brainstorming sessions and swift innovation. Making it to the other side of the pandemic, with the county rapidly approaching 30,000 total doses of vaccine distributed, is the light at the end of a tunnel in a trying year.

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