GUEST COMMENTARY | Why Proposition 2D Can’t Fail
by Gordon Reichard, Telluride Medical Center Executive Director
Oct 24, 2013 | 1531 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

I’ve heard this famous Yogi Berra quote used to describe the latest efforts to partition the Pearl Property in this fall’s election. My job as a member of the “Citizens for Keeping the Medical Center in Telluride” Issue Committee and as executive director at the Telluride Medical Center is to educate Telluride voters that this time is different.

And it most certainly is! Current conditions at TMC leave us with no option but to move from Telluride if Proposition 2D is not successful on November 5.

Just one reason a move is imminent:  TMC is currently located in such an old building (500 W. Pacific Ave.) that our property and casualty insurance carrier has served notice that they will not renew next year’s policy and our broker can’t find another carrier to quote us on a new policy. (The sky is not falling; we will find a high-risk carrier, but it will likely be expensive for taxpayers).  

As a solution, some have suggested TMC stay in the current facility and renovate the facility to bring it up to code. This only brings up a host of other reasons why TMC can’t stay at the current site.

Here are a few:   

• The owner of the building, Idarado Mining Co. has declined discussing, selling or extending the lease.       

• Even If TMC or the Town of Telluride owned the land and TMC could maintain 24/7 operations during extensive renovation, the result would be a massive building covering the lot while leaving no room for growth.

• TMC has been informed that the variances needed for lot coverage, parking and height would not be granted by the town. Without those variances TMC would not be able to even build the needed minimum sized facility.

• It’s not possible to land a helicopter at our current location.

• To qualify for Critical Access Hospital designation, TMC needs to meet hospital standards, impossible in our current facility. Failure to meet CAH status negatively impacts Emergency Room Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement by 20 percent, which in turn drives the cost of ER’s services for taxpayers and anyone who needs emergency services.

So when I hear that TMC doesn’t need to move, I know it’s just not understood how serious a problem we face.

TMC’s management and board are left with only one conclusion: we have to move to a new facility in the not so distant future.

The only question remaining is will the new facility be located with the town of Telluride or elsewhere?  It should be noted here too, there is no obvious or clear location for a medical facility outside of Telluride, either.

The RV Lot is the lone suitable site within the Town of Telluride and a Yes vote on Proposition 2D constitutes TMC’s last hope of staying within the town.

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