East County News Service
October 10, 2017 (La Mesa) - The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is continuing its support of the Challenge Center, a nonprofit facility in La Mesa where people with disabilities receive long-term physical therapy rehabilitation and fitness services.
The GHD board recently approved a $50,000 grant to support the Challenge Center’s programs to help its physically challenged clients receive services, regardless of their ability to pay. The GHD grant is expected to provide direct patient services for up to 170 clients, as well as pay for the purchase and maintenance of specialized equipment.
“We are proud to support the Challenge Center and its efforts to maximize independence and improve health and wellness in an environment of hope and possibility,” said Michael Emerson, GHD 2017 board president. “We’re gratified to assist those Challenge Center clients who have been both functionally and financially devastated with skilled physical therapy rehabilitation, specialized assisted fitness training and wellness programs.”
According to Tiffany Piquilloud, Challenge Center’s executive director, a recent study showed Challenge Center clients experience a lower rate of hospital readmissions and functional decline, factors which typically can result in higher Medicare costs associated with loss of independence.
“We’re very grateful for the many years of support from the Grossmont Healthcare District,” said Piquilloud. “Every dollar invested in the Challenge Center produces bottom-line results in terms of higher functioning, healthier clients and caregivers, plus healthcare cost savings. Without continued therapy, improvement is unlikely and depression, declining health and related secondary conditions are likely to return. However, fortunately, many of our clients achieve a higher level of function, independence and quality of life. Our vision is to restore health, provide hope and transform lives.”
In 1987, the Challenge Center was opened in El Cajon by the late Bill Bodry, who passed away at age 72 in June of this year. Bodry became a paraplegic at age 27 after a spinal cord injury. In 1999, the center relocated to Sunset Park in La Mesa, and has remained in operation through funding from GHD, the City of La Mesa and private donations. GHD has supported the Challenge Center with grants since 1998.
Its therapeutic physical therapy programs assist more than 500 clients with a variety of mobility disorders, ranging from severe brain and spinal cord injury to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. More than 14,000 hours annually in services provided include assisted fitness training, aerobics, group exercise and adaptive yoga. One of the fitness machines includes a stationary bicycle with computer-generated electrical stimulation that causes paralyzed lower extremities to pedal, achieving cardiovascular fitness and muscle strengthening. Services are provided on a sliding scale, enabling underinsured individuals to receive the care they need.
The Grossmont Healthcare District is a public agency that supports various health-related community programs and services in the East Region. Formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, GHD now leases operations to Sharp HealthCare via a public-private partnership, and continues to own the hospital on behalf of local taxpayers. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent more than 500,000 people residing within the District's 750 square miles in San Diego's East County. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.