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Last updated 3:53PM ET
December 13, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Public Hears/Reacts To Health Care Proposals
(2007-09-25)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A solution to Durango and La Plata County's primary health care crisis is back in the hands of the public.
A consultant formally presented findings of a four month study last night, to about 75 people gathered at Durango's Community Recreation Center, and earlier in the day during meetings in Bayfield and Ignacio.
KSUT's Victor Locke Reports.

VICTOR: In the course of about an hour, and with the aid of 29 power point pages, Health Care Consultant Reesa Webb of John Snow Incorporated detailed results of their four months of work studying a problem that's been years in the making.
JSI was contracted by the Primary Health Care Community Coalition to look for a sustainable way to provide primary health care, and serve the areas Medicare, Medicaid, uninsured and underinsured patients.
The study follows defeat of a health services district and tax to support it in May 2006, and the pullout of Valley Wide Health Services in March.
Webb outlined data analyzed by JSI.
That data found, among other things, 30-percent of area residents live below federal poverty levels, there's a shortage of physicians to provide services, and 19-percent of city and county residents are without health insurance.
WEBB: THAT'S CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN THE STATE AVERAGE, AND AS I MENTIONED, THOSE UNINSURED ARE NOT NECESSARILY NOT WORKING. MOST OF THOSE UNINSURED ARE WORKING FOLKS, WHO JUST DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.
Webb detailed their four recommendations, which we first told you Friday included proposals to increase recruiting and retention of physicians, take greater advantage of Federal Heath Care designations, grow services now provided by a stop gap clinic, or health services clinic operated by Mercy Hospital and fund it all through a number of sources, including creation of a tax supported health services district.
Only about ten people from the audience spoke afterwards.
One of them, Dick Dahl, said efforts to sell the idea of a health district with taxing authority needs to begin soon.
DAHL: MY SUGGESTION IS THAT WE START NO LATER THAN SPRING OF 2008 TO GET THAT THING GOING.
WEBB: OR NOW!
DAHL: I MEAN, OR NOW, NO LATER THAN 2008, WE DON'T WAIT UNTIL WE HAVE TO HAVE A PETITION AND HAVE TO HAVE IT FILLED OUT IN TWO DAYS.
WEBB: THANK YOU, THAT'S AN EXCELLENT COMMENT. AND I THINK WHAT'S SO NICE IS THE COMMUNITY IS REALLY ON A ROLE NOW.
Another speaker, Marsha Porter Norton, was a proponent of the May 2006 tax vote which failed.
She complimented the work done so far.
NORTON: GREAT WORK, THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE THOROUGH AND THEY SEEM VERY CREATIVE AND VERY WELL THOUGHT THROUGH. I'M CURIOUS IF HOW, YOU SEE OTHER COMMUNITIES HAVING RECOMMENDATIONS LIKE THIS AFFECT SMALL BUSINESSES AND HELP THEM.
Webb responded that there are numerous ways to address small business insurance needs that could be considered for small business.
It's envisioned the Community Care Coalition will continue to shepherd the process.
Coalition Chair Pat Murphy says he's pleased with the meetings held yesterday in Ignacio, Bayfield and Durango.
He calls the findings of JSI a validation that there is a local health care crisis and something needs to be done.
But he says it's too early to predict how fast the four recommendations can be implemented.
MURPHY: WE'RE PART WAY THROUGH THE PROCESS NOT ALL THE WAY AT THE END OF IT. IT WOULD BE PREFERABLE IF WE HAD ALL THE DETAILS OF EVERYTHING IRONED OUT TO THE FINEST DEGREE, BUT WE'LL GET THERE. AT THIS POINT WE'RE MORE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT WHAT THE COMMUNITY HAS TO THINK ABOUT OUR EFFORTS TO THIS POINT.
JSI is reccomending the coalition aim for a health service district election, by November 2008.
Murphy says that will be determined by community input and interest.
From KSUT, Four Corner's Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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