Newly Appointed Board Members add to Colorado HealthOP’s Already Robust Roster of Healthcare Experts

Denver, Colo. (Nov. 18, 2013)— Colorado HealthOP, Colorado’s first statewide non-profit health insurance cooperative, today announced the appointment of three new board members. These prominent leaders bring more than a century of healthcare, law and accounting experience to the CO-OP’s board of directors.

Joining Colorado HealthOP’s board of directors are Melinda Harper, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, founder of Harper Hofer & Associates, LLC, George Lyford, healthcare attorney for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy andMarc Ringel, M.D., medical director of the Hospice of Northern Colorado and senior clinical instructor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine.

Harper has more than 40 years of experience in public accounting, with specific expertise in damages, valuation, standard of care, bankruptcy and investigatory accounting. As a certified public accountant, in 2004, Harper founded Harper Hofer & Associates, a CPA firm focused on litigation, business valuation, marital dissolution and tax services. She previously served as director of Litigation and Valuation Services for CBIZ Accounting, Tax & Advisory Services.

Among a wealth of appointments to a variety of professional and legal organizations, Harper has served as a member of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, on the board of directors of the Colorado Health Foundation, as a member of the Board of Governors for HCA-HealthONE, LLC, and as a member of the Disciplinary Panel and the Client Protection Fund of the Colorado Supreme Court. Harper received her bachelor of science in Business Administration from West Virginia University.

“Being a part of the Colorado HealthOP Board, with its emphasis on service and coverage, is congruent with my beliefs in a not-for-profit health system,” said Harper. “I am thrilled to be a part of this dynamic and progressive organization.”

Lyford, a healthcare attorney for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, brings a breadth of knowledge in healthcare advocacy, health reform and health insurance law. He has previously served as a staff attorney for the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest’s Health Care Access Program, and as an attorney specializing in HIPAA compliance and Social Security disability for Mary Kay Hansen Law & mediation, PC LLO. Lyford received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Nebraska.

“I look forward to helping Colorado HealthOP implement its progressive, member-managed health insurance model,” Lyford said. “The Affordable Care Act brings with it new and improved health care options for tens of thousands of Coloradans. I am excited to work with the Colorado HealthOP board and management team to further our goal of providing affordable, sustainable health insurance.”

Dr. Ringel has been practicing medicine for more than 40 years, with a focus on rural health. He currently servies as medical director of the Hospice of Northern Colorado and is a senior clinical instructor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine.. He is also a consultant on medical staff issues, rural health, website development, telehealth and medical education and serves as chair of the Medical Advisory Board for HealthStream, Inc., a provider of online continuing medical education, enduring materials and live conferences.

A recognized expert in family practice in the rural setting, Dr. Ringel has always maintained an active family practice, which has served as the starting point for his consultation, writing and teaching. He has previously served as medical director for a number of rural health facilities, including hospice and senior care centers, and he has developed training programs for family medicine residents who plan to enter rural practice. Additionally, he has held academic appointments at the University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. Board certified in family medicine, with a certificate of added qualification in hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Ringel received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his medical degree from the University of Illinois. He speaks fluent Spanish.

“I am thrilled to be a member of the Colorado HealthOP team because this position gives me the opportunity to leverage some of what I’ve learned, through years of study and experience, in service of bringing quality healthcare to a community of empowered patients, a goal I’ve held dear since I entered medical school in 1970,” Dr. Ringel said.

Colorado HealthOP’s cooperative business model and value-based benefits allow the organization to provide a sustainable healthcare option to Colorado consumers. Coloradans can currently enroll in Colorado HealthOP plans through the state’s online health insurance marketplace,Connect for Health Colorado. Colorado HealthOP members will be eligible to receive benefits starting January 1, 2014.