(Courtesy photo)

From an economic perspective, it’s nice to know that Park County’s only medical facility, South Park Healthcare in Fairplay, is adding staff members and expanding services.

But from a quality of life perspective, it is something well beyond the bounds of just “nice” for Park County residents to have regular access to an exceptionally experienced team of dedicated local health care professionals when immediate medical attention is required for themselves and their families.

That, as they say, is a game-changer for each of us who resides in one of the state’s most sparsely populated regions – and one where gaining local access to quality health care can sometimes be challenging, if not altogether impossible.

Even more encouraging is the team of highly credentialed medical professionals that has been assembled to provide those services. Their collective experience, combined with their strong desire to serve the community, drastically changes the overall health care landscape for Park County residents.

Introducing the game-changers

Providing much-needed local health care options in Park County is dependent upon attracting and retaining a quality staff of medical professionals, which South Park Health Care has clearly succeeded in doing.

The clinic’s most recent addition, Heike Petersen, epitomizes the type of passionate medical professional that any community would be fortunate to acquire.

Petersen, who grew up in Germany and moved to the United States at the age of 21, has 22 years of experience in nursing. She has been a resident of Colorado for 27 years, and recently moved to Fairplay from Flagler, Colo. 

Petersen has a Masters of Science in Nursing and Family Medicine, and after two decades practicing nursing in sparsely populated regions of the Front Range, she understands all too well the challenges that accompany providing health care in rural settings.

“As rural health care providers, we have to be sort of a one-stop shop for our patients,” Petersen said. “In rural settings, we try to provide all we can to patients right here, rather than referring them to other places.” 

Petersen also indicated that she relishes the opportunity to practice alongside Dr. Katherine Fitting, M.D., who has been South Park’s most recognizable physician for many years.

“Dr. Fitting practices medicine in a way that I aspire to,” Petersen said.

Petersen’s vast areas of knowledge include extensive hospice training and experience, as well as many varieties of trauma care. Petersen especially excels in topics pertaining to women’s health, family planning and counseling young men and women.

“I am just excited to be here, and to continue practicing in a rural setting,” Petersen said. “My husband and I look forward to making new connections and meeting new friends.”

The remainder of the South Park Health Care staff includes licensed Clinic Sopervisor, Rikki Witt; Medical Assistant, Jessica Eger; and Medical Office Specialist and Meaghan Auerbach.

Whitt and her family recently moved to Fairplay from the Denver area. She and her family enjoy fishing, off-roading, camping, boating and pretty much anything outdoors.

“We are looking forward to getting to know and be a part of the community,” Whitt said.

Eger was born and raised in Leadville, and has been in healthcare for 11 years. She started out as a CNA in Leadville and continued that journey on the Front Range until recently finding her way back to the mountains.

She served as head of admissions for four years at St. Vincent General Hospital, and later as a medical assistant at Rocky Mountain Family Practice for two years.

“My husband, dogs and I are currently building a house in Hartsel, and I am beyond excited to be part of the South Park team,” Eger said,

Fidler is originally from Michigan, and moved to Colorado 13 years ago. She loves exploring outdoors with her dogs.

Auerbach is passionate about helping people, and enjoys working in healthcare because “it is a constantly evolving industry where no two days are ever the same,” she said.

“I am especially excited to be a part of the South Park Health Care team because everyone is passionate about providing our patients with the best care possible,” Auerbach said.

She has worked in healthcare for the past 10 years, and earned her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Colorado State University.

South Park Health Care is located at 525 Hathaway Street in Fairplay, and can be reached by phone at 719-836-0334.

The South Park Health Care website at www.southparkhealthcare.com, states the following with regards to services and patient care:

At South Park Health Care, the health of you and your loved ones are our top priority. We provide care for patients of all ages, including children, adults and seniors. Our family practice emphasizes preventive medicine to help you stay healthy, including physical exams and check-ups, along with caring for chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.


Preventative health care

Adult care

Pediatric care

Annual physicals


Cuts and scrapes


Wart removal


Ear cleaning

Breathing treatments


Management of chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol treatment, thyroid disorders and behavioral health

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