Told clinic ends discussions with TMH

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Craig Medical Clinic ended negotiations Friday with The Memorial Hospital.

The two parties had discussed for months a possible arrangement for the hospital to either lease the clinic's space or come to some other arrangement regarding its medical practice and patient base.

The Medical Clinic at 580 Pershing St. was the office of Dr. Thomas Told, a longtime Craig resident and physician, until last year when he became Dean of Clinical Medicine at Rocky Vista Medical School in Parker, a town southeast of Denver.

Shortly after Told decided to leave, his clinic began trying to find ways to provide "a continuity of care" to its patients, said Mollie Told, Thomas' wife and acting Medical Clinic administrator.

If she has one regret about ending negotiations with TMH, she said it's that the clinic will not be able to provide that continuity to patients.

"That was our goal, but it didn't work out that way," she said.

A deal between the clinic and the hospital never worked out for "a lot of reasons," Mollie said.

Sherry Bryant, Medical Center office manager, said negotiations began to go south when TMH backed out of a prior verbal agreement to buy the clinic's medical practice. The deal would have included TMH purchasing the clinic's patient records, furniture and equipment, she said.

"If that had happened, then we could have left out the front door and (the hospital) could have come in through the back door and everything would have been the same for our patients, except there would be a new doctor," Bryant said.

The hospital "backed out" of that deal "at the last minute" and began to pursue a lease agreement instead, she said.

Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer, said the hospital is not ready to comment on the matter.

Until Medical Center officials ended negotiations Friday, there was a different verbal agreement for TMH to lease the clinic's main floor for three years.

Mollie and Bryant said the clinic terminated lease talks because the hospital never offered a fair price. They said TMH wanted to use the Medical Center's equipment and supplies in addition to its office space.

Johnston said members of the hospital's administrative team were not available to discuss the issue Friday afternoon, when the clinic notified TMH it would close negotiations, and they should be involved before the hospital makes a statement.

Dr. Andy Hughes, who the hospital recruited as a family doctor to help make up for the loss of Thomas Told, plans to begin his practice Feb. 16, Johnston said.

Hughes will work out of what is now called The Memorial Hospital MRI Center at 651 Yampa Ave. The name of the building will change to The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic, Johnston said.

Hughes will see new patients, as well as accept all types of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, Johnston said in an interview Thursday.

There are no definite plans for the Tolds' clinic, Mollie said.

The clinic's former patients can call the clinic's main line at 824-3213 to receive a copy of their medical records, which they can take to other clinics in town, she said.

Mollie said it's undecided what to do with the Medical Center building or the former practice, but she and her husband will "pursue any avenue."

"All options are on the table," she said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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