Craig in need of doctors

Shortage has TMH, medical professionals scrambling


— Recruiting new doctors to Moffat County has been a primary focus for The Memorial Hospital for years, said Samantha Johnston, the hospital's service excellence officer.

Now that two of the area's family doctors have left the community - Dr. Thomas Told and Dr. Andre Huffmire - the challenge is that much greater, she added.

Told's departure, and the future of the Craig Medical Clinic, which he ran for decades, will impact the entire community, Johnston said. Finding more doctors is "incredibly important."

"We're all in this together," she said. "We need to do everything we can."

Hospital officials think the county needs at least 11 family doctors to serve its residents, which is about triple the four here now. Add in Dr. Andy Hughes - a physician recruited by TMH and expected to start in February - and there still isn't half the number needed.

It's not only the hospital that sees a problem.

Karen Zimmerman, office manager for Kinder Family Clinic, said her office has been "busy, busy, busy" since the departures of Told and Huffmire.

She added the Kinder clinic was in some ways lucky to find a nurse practitioner who lived in Steamboat Springs and was willing to come on part time at the beginning of December.

Especially fortuitous is that the practitioner, Brenda Renz, specializes in senior and adult medicine. Zimmerman said that because Told and Huffmire served the area for so many years, they had a lot of elderly patients who now need to find care elsewhere.

Because she and others can see the writing on the wall, the Kinder clinic is trying to recruit another family doctor, much like what TMH and Told attempted to accomplish before he left for Denver.

Recruitment is not easy, Johnston said.

When hospital officials first heard Told may leave Moffat County about a year ago, a combined effort started to recruit new physicians. Although it is not the hospital's responsibility to make sure the clinics in town have enough doctors, Johnston said, everyone recognizes the need.

Unfortunately, Told was not successful, and the hospital signed only one.

"One will not be enough," Johnston said. "We hoped to have three or four, but we have one."

Aside from the doctor situation, the future of Told's clinic also is up in the air.

Hughes, the newly hired TMH doctor, will be available for anyone in the community who needs to see a general medicine practitioner.

Whether the hospital can afford to purchase the Craig Medical Clinic building and its patient files is another matter, Johnston said.

Rohrich said he thinks a final decision on the Craig Medical Clinic will be made within the next week. Johnston said that will give enough time to have a plan in place for Hughes' start in February.

Hughes will need to practice somewhere, she said, but it's unclear whether that location will be the hospital or the clinic.

At the moment, the hospital has no contracts with Told or the clinic - written, verbal or otherwise - with the exception of a signed confidentiality agreement to protect private financial information, Johnston said.

The hospital is concerned that it won't be able to afford Told's building, particularly because all its money is going toward the new hospital's loan payments, she added. As well, TMH plans to build its own clinical building next to the new hospital and isn't sure purchasing another building is a responsible decision.

As for Told's patient files, Johnston said the hospital is not prepared to take on 1,000 or more new patients without more doctors. Still, TMH wants to work with all of the area's medical professionals to find a solution.

The hospital will "actively pursue" a way to purchase the clinic, Johnston said, but because of its community obligations to build a new hospital and serve its patients, it cannot risk overextending itself.

"In all of this, we're looking at these things: what works well for the community, what we can afford and what makes good business sense," Johnston said. "Throughout these discussions, we have tried very hard not to make promises we can't deliver, to the Tolds or to the community, which is why we are proceeding with caution."


lostyermarbles 8 years, 2 months ago

Well if we have "known this for years" why in the heck are they building a new hospital?? Is this spose to be like the movie Feild of Dreams, build it and they (maybe) will come??? The movie was good. The money pit on the hill is just that. We will have a skelton crew which will try to give the care of a proper hospital and Doctor's on loan maybe??? Talk about the cart before the horse...


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

Don't forget that many in this town voted no on this issue. Never should things be done on majority only.....facts should stand first.

They knew all of this. This hospital was "forced" on us by bs campaigning without facts. The paper is guilty as well. It's about deficeit financing.

I posted well over a year ago about the worldwide shortage of doctors.....especially in the USA.

HEY PAPER.....did any of you get the skinny on the interest rate we're paying for the money?


Really 8 years, 2 months ago

As a health professional, when I moved to Craig I took one look inside the hospital and didn't want to move here because I didn't want to work in such an outdated dump. Then I did work there and there are lots of physical and access problems that have to be "worked around" to provide patient care. As a physician, coming out of school with who knows how much debt, I would look at this place and go "no way!" I believe modern facilities will help recruitment. Yeah - build it and they WILL come.


SamanthaJohnston 8 years, 2 months ago


The interest rate for the hospital loan is 7.875.

Samantha Johnston


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Samantha

Another reason I'm upset......check out the foreclosures going on in this town. Many each week. I know my tax bill this past year almost put me out of business. I voted no because I couldn't afford the tax. I had to sell something else to get the money.

This is NOT how it is suppose to be. They are to represent the taxpayer, not rally at the foreclosure. They could have cared less if I went out of business or not. They salivate at the idea of putting your name in the paper. Heck, they use our taxes to pay the newpapers to put our names in the paper.

Are the banks getting stuck with all the tax bills regarding the foreclosures?

Why should I, after being in business in this town for almost 30 years be forced out of business over taxes? What about the elderly on a fixed income? Why doesn't anyone give a rats behind?

It's time to pull some of this high salaries being given out left and right along with their 100% Medical Coverage. Only then can they appreciate the other side.

The nerve.


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

I'd just like to add....

In the past decade my taxes have gone from 700/yr to 3K. Like I said, it was a serious struggle to meet the bill this year.

I won't make the same mistake this year. If I can't make the tax bill next year by sales from the business, I'm leaving.


Globe 8 years, 2 months ago


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Finally someone from your group is providing information. My only question about that interest is how much in fees and "loan insurance" will the hospital have to pay that isn't being calculated into that 7.85%? When all that is figured into the pay-off, what is the end rate that the hospital will be paying? Your finance guy can easily calculate this by taking his HP Calculator (every finance guy who is a finance guy has this calculator so just ask him and he will know what I am talking about) and determining the actual cost to build the hospital and subtrating that from the total loan amount to come up with what the fees and finance charges are upfront. This is then inputed into the financial calculator as an upfront payment. You input your annual payment, the total loan value, and the length of the loan and push compute IRR. It will take a few minutes but it will produce what the actual annual percentage rate is when you factor in the "other" interest and fees you have to pay. Thanks Samantha! Again, way to go giving out information. I hope they don't fire you for it.


craiggirl 8 years, 2 months ago

Tax - who is this "THEY" that you keep referring to? And since when did "most' people not vote for the hospital? As I recall, the MAJORITY of voters DID vote for the hospital? And what do you mean that the hospital was "forced" on us. You obviously voted no, so it wasn't "forced" on you. As for forclosures, the local numbers haven't dramatically increased over previous years. Moffat County and Craig have not seen the same decreases in value as other parts of the country.


STANHATHHORN 8 years, 2 months ago

Globe, Following is information provided by TMH. 1) Development cost $1,863,842 2) Building Construction $27,264,938 3)Proffessional fees $3,088,836 4)Admin. & legal $168,406 5)Medical Equipment $2,585,927 6)Furnishings $587,581 7)Telecom systems $610,000 8)Financing $5,035,359 9)Proj. Contingency $1,438,112 Total $42,643,000

The amortization schedule is approximately as follows; monthly payments to "Special Reserve Fund Deposits", of $150,000 for 14 months beginning 3/26/09 ending 4/25/10. Then, beginning with 7/26/10 monthly payments of about $380,000 for the next several years, or about $4.5 million per year. The actual ($380,482) payments begin in month 20 and end in month 319 ($308,069)


Globe 8 years, 2 months ago

$4.5 million a year is the debt service that the hospital is going to have to cover every year is that correct Stan? Remind us again of what debt they are currently able to service? What are there operating profits going to be this year Stan? If they are zero, they are going to have to increase net income by roughly 4.5 million per year is that right?

Breaking out my calculator I come up with a number closer to 12% for interest once we add in the up front interest they pay in the form of finance charges. I like that we are borrowing 37 million but are paying back 42 million. And who gets the 1.4 million?

We should start a football pool type of bet on who gets closest to the actuall amount of cost overruns they end up with on the hospital and that person gets the pot if they get withing $100,000. Or we could just have people write their names on squares and have a hundred squares and charge 10 bucks a square and randomly assign overruns to each of the squares. Who's ever square is closest gets the money.


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

craiggirl, when I say "they" I refer to the "BORG", the assimulated. Those that believe what they hear and read without verifing the facts....most of the population. It's not personal to anyone. I do hope I've not rebuked anyone personnally on this site. Well, I've blasted the paper a few times but they're part of the corporate BORG. They just repeat what they read or hear off the AP, which is controlled by the BORG.

Did you see the MATRIX?

We've been ripped from DC to Dinnosaur.

To the Hospital,

Did you catch the story yesterday....California Supreme Court ruled "Balance Billing", by hospitals, is ILLEGAL.


lonelyone 8 years, 2 months ago

Craiggirl, I think it is safe to say that the majority of those who voted, voted for the hospital. Craig has never had a very good turn out during any voting period that I can remember. We may have had a larger turn out for the election that had the tax increase on it, but it was not by any means a large number of residents. I kind of think that many residents don't get out and vote because they figure their vote won't make any difference and that is sad. If the number of residents who complain about how things turned out actually got out and voted, maybe things woull have turned out diffrenent. I also think it is safe to say that if you voted NO on the hospital and school mill levy increase, then the hosptial was forced on you and the same goes with the school stuff. I suppose it is just a different way of looking at it..........yours versus Tax's


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

I still defend my words of "forced" on me. I voted NO for a reason, I couldn't afford it. The BORG however said, "We don't give a rats behind. Pay or we take."

I would love to drive around in a comfy Cadillac at my age too. Again, I can't afford it.

Keep in mind....I've contributed plenty to this community over the decades.


taxslave 8 years, 2 months ago

But there is sweet justice. The BORG has now lost 1/2 of their retirement...the new 201K, soon to be 101K.

I know most of you are believing that it will all bounce back by let's say, the third quarter, right?...wrong.

Regardless, we don't hear Tony cheerleading for funds for the rec. center anymore.

Those in gov. jobs have a big surprise in store as well. Municipal bonds and state pensions are not funded. Netiher are there any more funds left in the "unemployment" insurance fund. Colorado is crying out to the feds to fund the program.

I posted on this site plenty of times, over two years ago, warning everyone to pull their funds out of the market.

If you recall I posted that I went to the commissioners mtg. and warned them as well.


craiggirl 8 years, 2 months ago

As I understand it, new laws require Mortgage Insurance on all HUD backed loans for the life of the loan.


STANHATHHORN 8 years, 2 months ago

Globe, Here's another equation for your HP. The new TMH building is proposed to cost about $27 million. The following is the approximate distribution to the lenders and others from TMH mortage payments made throughout about a 27 year loan life: Principal $40.4million Interest $52million Special Reserve $2.1million Insurance $3.3million Mortgage Reserve $5.9million The total is in excess of $103million. Strange that $3.3million is for mortgage insurance given that HUD has guaranteed the project.


Globe 8 years, 2 months ago

Mortgage insurance, mortgage reserve, and interest are all part of the "fee" you are paying to borrow the money. So it is in essence part of the interest you are paying, either directly or indirectly, would you not agree stan?


STANHATHHORN 8 years, 2 months ago

It appears that way, and don't forget the $5,035,359 in up front financing charges taken from the principal amount up-front. By the way, I recently had a commercial adjustable rate loan reset to 4% interest. So, even at 7.875 TMH is paying way too much.


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