DAF announces free virtual urgent-care benefit for Colorado theatre artists


New partnership could save Colorado theatre artists unnecessary, expensive trips to Urgent Care or emergency rooms

The Denver Actors Fund today announced an important new health-care benefit for qualified members of the Colorado theatre community. The grassroots nonprofit is partnering with Hippo Health to provide on-demand, free access to emergency medical evaluations via video conference with a Board-certified physician. This first line of defense may save members of the theatre community an unnecessary trip to Urgent Care or a hospital emergency room – and the financial burden that might result.

If you are a qualified Colorado theatre artist and become sick or injured, you can now reach out to a doctor using the Hippo Health app to connect with a Board-certified physician. A doctor will ask you about your medical history, assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan.

The Denver Actors Fund and Hippo Health share the common goal of helping those who need the most help. – DAF President Chris Gibley

Signing up to use this new service is easy:

  • Visit denveractorsfund.org and follow the easy sign-up instructions. (It takes less than five minutes.)
  • Download the Hippo Health app to your phone or other device.
  • That’s it. The service is now avaiable for use seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Eligibility requirements for this benefit are the same as when applying for actual financial assistance from The DAF: To qualify, an applicant must have been a Colorado resident for at least six months in the past year, and have worked in a creative capacity on at least one credible theatrical production in Colorado in the previous  five years.

Through Hippo Health, we hope to help local acting professionals get happy, healthy and on their way to their next great performance. – Hippo Health Co-Founder Dr. Kevin McGarvey

This benefit, the brainchild of new DAF board member Dr. Kelli Lewis, is being provided by The DAF at no cost to eligible participants. Under the initial agreement, The DAF will pay Hippo Health $25 each time a qualified member of the community uses the service, DAF President Chris Gibley said. The applicant will pay nothing.

“The DAF is excited to offer this benefit and to partner with Hippo Health for many years to come,” said Gibley. “We share the common goal of helping those who need the most help. Many thanks to the folks at Hippo for their commitment to our community, and making this possible.”

Hippo Health was started by a team of eight physicians (including Lewis) who have worked together for more than a decade. “From that experience, we have built a new way to do virtual care coordination that helps patients and clinicians truly feel cared for,” said Hippo Health Co-founder and CEO Dr. Kevin McGarvey.

“We are honored and humbled to serve DAF members. Our emergency-physician team is excited to connect with actors in the community and serve them medically when they are in need. Through Hippo Health, we hope to help local acting professionals get happy, healthy and on their way to their next great performance.”

The Denver Actors Fund is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that since 2014 has served as a source of both immediate financial and neighborly assistance to members of the Colorado theater community in situational medical need. To date, The Denver Actors Fund has distributed more than $400,000 to help recipients with medical bills, insurance, co-payments, supplies, dental care and more. In addition, The DAF’s army of more than 60 volunteers have donated more than 500 hours of practical service ranging from providing meals, child care and transportation to pet-sitting, snow-shoveling, personal company and more.

DAF Founder and Executive Director John Moore said this new partnership with Hippo Health is tangible evidence of the non-profit’s desire to expand its ability to make a positive impact on the lives of artists in medical need. “When we decided to expand the board from four to seven members earlier this year, it was my stated goal to identify and recruit high-impact candidates such as Chris and Kelli,” Moore said. “Kelli has been an emergency-room doctor in Denver for 26 years and brings invaluable credibility and expertise into everything we do. And now, to be able to make her innovative video-doctor service to our community at very low cost to us is another significant step forward.”

Lewis joined the board with a goal of finding new ways to be helpful to the local theatre community as they encounter medical challenges. “I’m very excited to see what’s possible,” she said.

Click here to read stories about some of the actors, directors, stage managers and others who have been helped through The Denver Actors Fund to date.

From left: Dr. Kevin McGarvey, Dr. Kelli Lewis and DAF President Chris Gibley.

By John Moore

Award-winning arts journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine during has 12 years at The Denver Post. Hen then created a groundbreaking new media outlet covering Colorado arts an culture as an in-house, multimedia journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also founded The Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that has raised more than $600,000 for theatre artists in medical need. He is now a journalist for hire as the founder of Moore Media Colorado. You can find samples of his work at MooreJohn.Com. Contact him at culturewestjohn@gmail.com