Leading with Passion

Dr. John Riopelle

Dr. John Riopelle, CPMG gastroenterologist at the Kaiser Permanente Lone Tree Medical Offices, has served Kaiser Permanente members for nearly 15 years. Along the way, he has developed personally and professionally as a physician and leader.

“One of the reasons I joined CPMG is that there are a lot of opportunities to be involved behind the lines of patient care and to help influence the organization on a broader basis. I’ve been really fortunate to do that in several venues,” says Dr. Riopelle.

He has served in operational roles, from Regional Chief of Gastroenterology for five years, to Assistant Area Medical Director of Medical Specialties and Area Medical Director in south Denver/Boulder.

“I was also involved with the Compensation Committee for seven years, including three years as chair. I enjoyed the idea of helping to determine how CPMG’s compensation structure could be fair and equitable for our physicians.”

After years serving in these roles, Dr. Riopelle decided that he missed patient care and wanted to spend the majority of his time in clinic with patients. Still, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get more involved in the Kaiser Permanente Safety Net Specialty Care program.

“I am very passionate about the issues of uninsured people in our community. I’m proud that Kaiser Permanente has made such a strong effort to address their medical needs and support local safety net clinics,” asserts Dr. Riopelle.

Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Community Benefit and Relations department had forged relationships with several safety net clinics throughout the state. It was apparent that many of the safety net clinics were able to provide primary care services, but lacked access to specialty care for their uninsured, low-income patients. Beginning in 2013, Kaiser Permanente’s Safety Net Specialty Care program began to offer e-consults for providers in the safety net clinics to ask for advice from CPMG specialists.

“The program has continued to grow, and we now have about 90-95 specialists from eight medical specialties who are available to answer questions and often have face-to-face visits with the patients in need,” explains Dr. Riopelle. “It’s important to me because our mission as an organization is to provide quality, affordable health care to both our members and the communities we serve. We’re meeting people where they are.”

In 2017, Dr. Riopelle expanded his commitment to the program by becoming the Specialty Care Physician Liaison. The Safety Net Specialty Care program’s potential and its wide-reaching impact on the community excite and motivate him.

“After five years refining this program in Colorado, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to launch it in other Kaiser Permanente regions across the country,” says Dr. Riopelle. “In this role at CPMG, I’m exactly where I want to be.”

Dr. Riopelle shares what sets CPMG apart from other medical groups in part one of his story.

To learn more about working at CPMG, click here.