The Local, Community Voice for Healthcare

Communities in southwest Colorado have benefitted from the partnership between Local First Foundation and Peak Health Alliance to bring more affordable health insurance options to local residents and businesses, saving almost $4 million in premiums for southwest Colorado over the past two years.

Unfortunately, the health insurance carrier serving Peak Health Alliance — Bright HealthCare — let everyone down with their recent surprise decision to pull out of the market in Colorado and other states in 2023. It is important to note: All current Peak-sponsored plans remain fully in effect for the remainder of 2022.

Bright’s exit means Peak Health Alliance members will need to find new coverage for 2023. Peak has compiled resources to help you pick a new plan. Visit:

Open enrollment for individuals and families begins on November 1 for coverage in 2023. Be sure to enroll by December 15 to continue or start coverage on January 1, 2023. Federal premium subsidies (advance tax credits) available through Connect for Health Colorado can substantially lower the cost of health insurance for many individuals and families.

We are here to help! Doug McCarthy, our local healthcare advocate, can help you explore options for help including local insurance brokers and enrollment assisters certified by Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official insurance marketplace. Businesses can still benefit from using Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) to cover their employees.

Local First Foundation will continue its advocacy for Southwest Colorado communities during 2023, including supporting access to mental health care through an ARPA grant from La Plata County and working with Peak Health Alliance to develop new insurance solutions for 2024. Making healthcare more affordable and accessible for our rural communities is hard work, and there are bound to be setbacks along the way. We appreciate the understanding and support of our communities as we move forward.

Contact Doug McCarthy at 970-799-6618 ext. 4, or by email at

Peak Health Alliance

Local First has partnered with the Peak Health Alliance,  a healthcare purchasing cooperative with the goal of reducing health care premiums, while maintaining local and high quality care, through the power of community collaboration. 

You now shop local for healthcare saving approximately 35% on health insurance in La Plata, San Juan, Dolores, and Montezuma Counties. Our efforts have recirculated $3.8 million dollars back into the community to date!

Learn More

Mission and Values

We work to provide affordable, accessible, and high-quality healthcare to the residents of southwest Colorado.

  • Affordable health care available to all.

  • Benefit to the community and local economy.

  • Advocate for local healthcare practitioners.

  • Reduce economic leakage and recirculate dollars locally.

  • Transparency and accountability.

  • Maintain the best interest of the community, not special interest groups.

  • Emphasis on data, evidence, and performance metrics.

Our work started in 2018 in response to a growing concern from local businesses about the rising cost of healthcare. Read the Community Needs Assessment that set us on the path to affordable, local healthcare.


Be Local Radio Playlist


Eric Malone with The Payroll Department shares his story of saving $30,000 when choosing a locally crafted healthcare plan for his employees.

The Powerhouse Behind Our Work.

Steering Committee

Monique DiGiorgio

Local First Foundation 

Patrick Gerstenberger, MD

Gary Keil

American Heritage Railways

Liane Jollon

San Juan Basin Public Health

Jack Llewellyn

Durango Chamber of Commerce

Doug McCarthy


Nanette Penz-Reuter


Suzanne Phare

The Durango Network 

Durango Chamber of Commerce

Sarah Tober

Local First Foundation

Tim Wheeler

Local First

Briggen Wrinkle

Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado


We Need Your Support.

The Local First Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit working to ensure the community’s voice is front and center in healthcare. We receive no commissions and are completely outside the healthcare finance system. We need your support to keep doing our important work. Please consider donating today. Thank you!