Community Leaders Launch Process to Study Future Healthcare Needs
by Seth Cagin
Mar 28, 2013 | 1413 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

What Does the Community Want? What Can It Afford?

TELLURIDE – Could it be that the Telluride region has struggled for years to upgrade the capacity of the Telluride Medical Clinic because there has been no consensus as to what the region’s future health care should provide?   

What level of care does the community want? What can it afford? And what is the community’s health and wellness vision?

In an effort to address those questions at a time of fundamental changes in the nation’s health care system, the Telluride Foundation, in cooperation with a group of community leaders and the Telluride Medical Center, is launching a process next month to consider the options. 

The process, which will gather information at public meetings and by way of online surveys, could lead to the multi-million dollar questions of what if any new services could be provided; where new services, along with the Telluride Medical Center’s existing services, might be housed; and how new facilities could be funded, according to Telluride Foundation President Paul Major. 

But before those large questions are tackled, the process will first try to outline the region’s future needs and opportunities.

As an example of the challenges, Major said, the Telluride Medical Center provides essential emergency services and a primary care clinic, but its facility is outdated, crowded and it occupies a building it doesn’t own.  So a new clinic facility will likely be needed. But there could be opportunities in the same facility for additional healthcare and wellness services, provided by other entities. This presents the possibility that a health and wellness campus might be developed with the TMC as the primary, but not the only tenant.

The steering committee for the community survey is comprised of John Pryor, former mayor of Telluride; David Fansler, former mayor of Mountain Village; Bill Grun, chairman of the Telluride Hospital District; and Major.

“Over the years there have been lots of talk about bringing in additional medical services,” Fansler said.  “Perhaps other specialty or health providers could enhance the great work of the TMC. There may be opportunities to partner with other health and healthcare providers.  There might be an opportunity for private development of a medical facility or campus. These are the sorts of ideas that the community should explore together.”

The steering committee has adopted a set of guiding principles.  They are:

*to seek “genuine and active” public participation in “determining the community’s health and wellness needs now and into the future;

*recognizing that given the constraints of the TMC’s current facility, a new facility is likely needed;

*there are opportunities to expand the scope of health and healthcare services in the region and a medical campus could provide cost savings;

*limited sites in Telluride, Mountain Village and Society Turn are available and should be evaluated for their suitability for current and expanded facility needs; and

*plans should be developed that will avoid additional taxes and the facility should be financially self-sustaining.

For more information or to join the discussion, call the Telluride Foundation at 970/728-8717 or email info@telluridefoundation.org to be added to the email distribution list.

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