Ken Rogers: Save our clinic
October 31, 2016
This November the voters are being asked to approve a modest increase in the mill levy for the South Routt Medical Center. Many people are not aware of what the medical center provides and the critical role it plays in the healthcare for an entire community.
Founded in 1962, the South Routt Medical Center has been providing quality family healthcare for over 54 years. The clinic will see patients of all ages regardless of their economic situation or whether or not they have insurance. The medical center still schedules patients in 30-minute time blocks so that every patient gets the full attention of the provider and the highest quality of care can be given.
Moreover the medical staff are some the finest and most reputable medical providers in the area including the Medical Director Dr. Daniel Smilkstein, Dr. Jon Freckleton, D.O., Dr. Lisa Harner, Frankie Hannah, PA, and Linda Casner, NP.
With the Affordable Care Act and subsequent Medicaid expansion in Colorado, the number of patients seeking healthcare has increased dramatically. However, along with this, insurers are placing more and more of the financial burden on the healthcare facilities have gradually reduced the reimbursements rates. This is especially challenging for the rural healthcare centers such as the South Routt Medical Center.
Because of these challenges and with the philosophy of providing the best care possible, the community of South Routt has been supporting the clinic through a mill levy initiative. Unfortunately the revenues that are generated through the initial mill levy have gradually declined, leaving a cumulative shortage of over $750,000 since 2011. This year, Referendum 5A is asking for a small increase to help compensate for this shortcoming.
Currently, the clinic is operating at a net loss and will be facing dramatic cutbacks unless the additional funding is approved. These cutbacks could result in the loss of services, reduced hours, fewer providers and an overall reduction in the availability of healthcare for the residents.
Many people who live in the area have transportation challenges, and without the South Routt Medical Center, they simply would not have access to healthcare. It would be a shame to loose this kind of resource.
I have been involved in healthcare for over 40 years working in hospitals, ambulances, small clinics and medical missions abroad. I have seen the unquestionable benefit that a healthcare facility like the South Routt Medical Center can bring to a community. This is an invaluable resource that the community truly cannot live without.
I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to vote yes on 5A and save our clinic.