Medical group to make changes

Reorganization

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Steamboat Medical Group is in the process of reorganizing, and as part of that probably will have to pull out of its partnership with the South Routt Medical Center.

South Routt Medical Center officials said they are working to find another group to partner with and that they are not closing their doors.

Final decisions about the Steamboat Medical Group reorganization have yet to be made, but the process will impact Oak Creek, Administrator Judith Lehel said.

Currently, Steamboat Medical Group is partnered with South Routt Medical Center to provide staff and bill customers. A physician's assistant works at the South Routt clinic two times a week, a doctor works there once a week, and the center also has a receptionist.

Steamboat Medical Group has decided to cut its three physician's assistants, Lehel said, and so does not have the personnel to service South Routt.

Steamboat Medical Group also partners with a clinic in Hayden, but that relationship likely will not be affected, Lehel said.

Linda Long, president of the South Routt Medical Center Board, said the center is working hard to find another doctor to cover the days when the physician's assistant was at the center.

"We're very upbeat, and everything is looking good," Long said. "We're not even close to having to shut down."

Ideally, the center hopes to be open on more days each week that are convenient for its residents, Long said.

"If our doors were open more, we'd have more service, and that's what our aim (has been)," Long said.

The South Routt clinic recently sent out a survey to residents to find out what services they wanted most and how the clinic could better serve the area. There was a good response, Long said, and results from the survey are being tabulated.

A dentist and a podiatrist recently have expressed interest in bringing their services to the community, Long said.

Steamboat Medical Group will have a meeting about the reorganization next week in which the changes should be finalized, Lehel said. The changes are not being made because the group is "not happy" with how things are going, she said.

"Sometimes in a business ... reorganization is imminent," Lehel said. "So I think it was time to do it, and we are working on it."

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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