Receptionist Kathy Reed, front, and registered nurse Melissa Uchitelle-Rogers work Wednesday at the South Routt Medical Center.  The medical center is expected to be open five days a week starting Jan. 1.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Receptionist Kathy Reed, front, and registered nurse Melissa Uchitelle-Rogers work Wednesday at the South Routt Medical Center. The medical center is expected to be open five days a week starting Jan. 1.

South Routt residents say 'ahhh'

Visits to medical clinic have more than doubled in recent months

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— The doctor will be in five times a week at the South Routt Medical Center as early as Jan. 1.

It was less than a year ago that the clinic was open only two half-days a week.

But that all changed after South Routt residents in May 2006 voted in favor of a mill levy to subsidize the expense of operating the medical clinic.

"Thank goodness that the people of South Routt got behind us," said South Routt Medical Center Board of Directors member Janie Romick. "People really enjoy the clinic."

Supporters of the clinic say it serves a valuable purpose in the community, and they are fortunate to have it because it is something a lot of other rural communities do not have.

"Parents aren't having to go to Steamboat every time they turn around to take their sick children to the hospital," said Jennifer Sliney, a physician's assistant at the clinic.

The money from the tax was expected to raise about $180,000 annually, which enabled the clinic to pay Dr. Bill Geserick to see patients three times a week.

The center also has purchased additional medical equipment, maintained the building and planned for future health needs in South Routt.

Beginning Monday, the clinic will undergo a significant remodel.

"The building was built in the 1950s, and there has been no remodel or anything done since then," Romick said.

During the remodel, the clinic will be closed on Thursday and Dec. 6. The center will also be closed Friday and Dec. 7 for physical therapy.

The $60,000-plus project entails gutting currently under-

used space in the area in the back of the clinic, and making it the new home for physical therapy.

Dr. Tom Collins is currently using three cramped rooms packed full of exercise equipment in the front of the clinic.

By moving the physical therapy services to the back of the clinic, it will clear space for an area that likely will be used in the future for minor surgical procedures, such as giving stitches.

The changes mean there also will be space available for future services.

"We're still very interested in pursuing a dentist, even if it's just a few days a month," said Sandy Miller, who has served on the medical center's board for nine years.

A small bathroom will be replaced with a handicap-accessible bathroom.

"It's going to make a huge difference," Sliney said of the remodel.

The goal is to have the project completed by Jan. 1, Miller said.

Once the remodel is complete, it will enable the clinic to have a physician five days a week.

It appears South Routt residents have taken advantage of the existing services, and officials expect the demand to increase.

The demand for health services at the clinic has more than doubled in the past few months, and it is getting more and more difficult to make a last-minute appointment.

With about 16 patient visits a day, Sliney said it is a sign that South Routt residents are successfully growing their community clinic.

"We would never have been able to do that without the mill levy," Miller said.

- To reach Matt Stensland, call 741-4247

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Dave Ege 6 years, 4 months ago

Yea! Hopefully O.C. will begin to attract more businesses to our little community. Maybe a hardware store, some competition for the grocery store, etc. It is obvious that this little mountain coal town is on the edge of a population explosion. Is this a good thing? I don't know for sure yet, but if we need 1 full time and 2 part time police officers, plus a part time code enforcement officer, we will need a much bigger tax base to support it all.

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bluntman 6 years, 4 months ago

this facility and it's staff are an outstanding asset to the greater South Routt Community. many thanks to the residents who supported the mill levy proposal at the ballot box and those who continue to support the clinic with their patronage. many thanks to the dedicated individuals who serve on the board of the South Routt Medical Center. hopefully we will be able to retain our highly qualified personnel at this facility through competitive wages and incentives, as many rural communites throughout Colorado (for whatever reason) have not.

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