Last updated 5:47PM ET
December 16, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
La Plata Health Tax District Back On The Table?
(2007-09-21)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A prescription to cure Durango and La Plata County's health care ills has been written.
And it includes what voters in the past have ruled to be a bitter pill to swallow.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Since April, Reesa Webb, a consultant with JSI, Inc. has been looking into the problems with health care in Durango and La Plata County.
She was contracted by the Primary Health Care Community Coalition, which formed following defeat of a Health Services District proposal in May 2006, to look for a solution to health care problems worsened by the closing last March of Valley Wide Health Services.
On Monday, Webb presents her findings and seeks public feedback, during three town hall type meetings in Ignacio, Bayfield and Durango.
Webb says what they uncovered wasn't surprising.
We have high numbers of uninsured and underinsured, as well as medicare and medicaid patients coupled with a lack of adequate primary care physicians.
WEBB: WE FEEL THAT A HEALTH DISTRICT IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE A VERY IMPORTANT KEY TO FURTHERING OUR RECOMMENDATIONS. WE ARE RECOMMENDING RECRUITING ADDITIONAL PHYSICIANS TO THE HEALTH SERVICES CLINIC ALREADY IN EXISTENCE, KNOWN COMMONLY I THINK, AS THE STOP GAP CLINIC. WE FEEL SINCE THAT CLINIC IS DEFINITELY CURRENTLY SERVING A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE POPULATION THAT DO NOT HAVE ACCESS AND DID NOT HAVE ACCESS WHEN VALLEY WIDE PULLED OUT, THEY DO SERVE A HIGH PROPORTION OF MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND THE UNINSURED, THAT WE SHOULD GROW THAT CLINIC WITH SOME ADDITIONAL PROVIDERS. BUT THE ONLY WAY THAT CLINIC CAN GROW IS WITH SOME FUNDING ASSISTANCE.
Webb says that means proposing a health tax district, similar to what local voters rejected in a May 2006 election.
WEBB: AND STRUCTURING THAT HEALTH TAX DISTRICT SO THAT IT'S MORE PALATABLE TO THE COMMUNITY IN THE WAY THAT IT'S STRUCTURED, AND FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT IT.
Webb says their study shows most in the community recognize the need to address the health care issue, and would likely support a tax district with better explanation.
WEBB: WE NOW HAVE THE DATA TO SHOW WHAT TYPES OF FUNDS ARE NEEDED AND WHY THEY'RE NEEDED, AND WHERE THE FUNDS WOULD BE DIRECTED TO, AND THEY WOULD GO DIRECTLY BACK INTO THE LA PLATA COUNTY COMMUNITY.
Webb says they have no timetable for a health district election, and it's only one element of their proposals.
First, they need feedback from the public.
Then they'll revise their strategies based on that feedback, after which decisions can be made on the next steps.
Monday's meetings are from 9-10:30 AM at the Sun Ute Community Center in Ignacio, 12 noon to 1:30 PM at the Pine River Public Library in Bayfield, and 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Durango Rec Center.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Library, I'm Victor Locke.
© Copyright 2017, ksut