George Rohrich, FACHE: Why Moffat County needs a new hospital

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Moffat County needs a new hospital to ensure the best quality medical services into the future.

I am disheartened when I think about the future of The Memorial Hospital and our community if we cannot replace the current hospital. My vision is to see the people of Moffat County and those who visit us have the very same health care opportunities that our neighbors in Steamboat have and that larger communities across the country have. We deserve premium health care. We deserve exceptional doctors and medical staff. We deserve to be proud of our hospital.

Our current hospital is at the end of its service life. It is worn out.

In near the future, major repairs and replacement will be required; the roof will need to be replaced along with the emergency generators, the heating, air conditioning and ventilation and HVAC systems, the medical oxygen system and the fire suppression systems.

These replacements will be required by state, federal and accreditation agencies for the hospital to continue providing services and to maintain its license and accreditation. These replacements will cost millions of dollars and some will require the hospital to close while the renovations are completed. Conservative estimates indicate the fire suppression upgrade/replacement alone will cause the majority of hospital to close for several months until the work can be completed.

During the time the facility is closed for these upgrades/replacements, the hospital will have enormous expenditures with little or no income. The combination of these large outflows of money and little or no inflows of money will put the hospital in grave financial trouble.

Funds for medical equipment, physician recruitment, staff wages and new services will become scarce or all together unavailable. Inevitably, we would lose staff to more stable organizations.

TMH will begin a downward spiral where the vast majority of available funds are used just to keep the building operational.

Every day, community people choose hospital care elsewhere, where the facilities are modern and offer more services; they use the physicians at those hospitals. If this trend continues, local physicians would see fewer and fewer patients and eventually relocate to busier practices, and the current physician crisis will become even more severe. The reality for Moffat County is that residents who receive out-of-town healthcare probably also dine, shop and do business out of town. Local business suffers when health care needs are met out of town.

If the current tax initiative is not approved, TMH could reasonably be forced to come back to the county for a mill levy increase just to support operations and to sustain the old hospital. TMH needs community support for the goal of a new facility to become a reality.

As a hospital administrator, I am forced to plan for the future. I hope that the future is bright and new.

Vote YES on 1A.

Moffat County needs a new hospital to ensure the best quality medical services into the future.

George Rohrich, FACHE

CEO

The Memorial Hospital

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