Town of Telluride Ballot Issue 2D is important for the residents of the Town of Telluride for many reasons. In particular it is of interest to those who support keeping the Telluride Medical Center in the town of Telluride. This is it! The RV lot is the only parcel of land left in the Town of Telluride that has the potential to be a home for the future medical center. This is a logical location for access to all the hospital district’s residents with its close proximity to downtown pharmacies, grocery stores and easy access to public transportation like the gondola and bus. The medical center sees 14,000 visits a year, 20 percent from tourists. This would be a lot of traffic out of town if the TMC was not on the gondola route. We also have over 40 employees – all of which bring revenue to the Town of Telluride.
The “Hospital District” which is a tax district (we are not a hospital) is approximately 6,300 residents, 2,291 from the town of Telluride and 1,349 from the Mountain Village. The Telluride Medical Center does not own the current building. The lot and the building are owned by Idarado Mining Company (Newmont) and are leased through the Town of Telluride. Our staff and our patients love our current location. I love our current location, but we cannot stay. The owners will not negotiate a sale or extension of the lease, which will expire in less than 20 years. This issue has been pursued multiple times without success. Neither condemnation nor eminent domain is an option. Since 2010 we have had a 12 percent growth of primary care visits (mostly locals) and a 9 percent growth of ER visits. Room is tight and is utilized to its maximum potential. Our current site does not and will never have adjacent helicopter access. We are reluctant to invest further money into a building we do not own nor can acquire. We need more space and an updated building. There is no doubt that Telluride Medical Center is an essential part of our community and our organization will stay in the hospital district, however where, is yet to be determined.
Part of TMC’s board and my job is to assess long term planning for health care in the region. Every three to four years we have been involved in planning studies to assess growth, potential for new services and affiliation with larger organizations. Concern for identifying a parcel of land and the need for a larger more updated building is a priority for local leaders, the Hospital District Board, staff and patients. In addition to the RV lot, our organization has identified two parcels of land, one in the Mountain Village and the other at Lawson Hill. The two properties have potential but are in no way an absolute. The parcel located in the Mountain Village would need approval from their population and the parcel in Lawson Hill would need a private owner to sell two lots and San Miguel County to shift the existing intercept parking lot.
I have been at the Medical Center for over 12 years. I not only take care of the region’s population, but have been actively involved in the management of the organization. Medical businesses are not easy businesses to operate, especially in a region of fluctuating population, remoteness and with health care reform. We take pride in our work and remain committed to taking care of the region.
Please take the time to go to the web site KeepTMCinTelluride.com to obtain more information. If 2D fails we will have to direct our focus and our future to land outside the Town of Telluride. These are not scare tactics and there is no big money involved. It’s just plain and simple: 2D or not to be! We will continue providing excellent care to the entire community it just may be more driving for more people and less revenue for the Town of Telluride.
– Sharon Grundy, M.D.