Editorial: Refine rather than rebuild
February 4, 2012
The Memorial Hospital in Craig has done a wonderful job in recent years of revitalizing operations and offering better health care. But, the editorial board believes more consideration could be given to private providers considering they aren’t partially subsidized by public dollars. Also, an area that continues to need improvement is the hospital’s billing.
It can hardly be argued The Memorial Hospital in Craig has vastly improved as a health care provider since it moved to a new facility west of town two-and-a-half years ago.
Hospital officials deserve credit for this, but plenty of kudos should also go to the public for funding $42.6 million for the new hospital. One trip to TMH is all it takes to understand just how far the hospital has come from the old days of the Russell Street location.
However, as improved as TMH has become, the editorial board believes the hospital should show more consideration to private practice health care providers.
The hospital, which receives public money, has advantages other local providers don't when it comes to the bottom line.
The editorial board believes this has had ramifications on private providers — who, in an odd twist, are helping provide revenue through taxes to a direct competitor — and the roster of private providers in Craig and Moffat County is seemingly dwindling at an alarming rate.
In turn, this affects the whole community.
It's a known fact people considering relocating to our community look at factors like quality of life, education, taxes, real estate, and employment.
Health care is right there in the mix, a determining factor as important as the others.
While being able to boast of a new hospital is a great selling point, it's equally important our community be able to offer providers who see patients at their offices, providers who can build a rapport over the years with a patient and that patient with the provider.
The editorial board believes a working partnership with private providers to cover gaps in available health care offerings, rather than compete with existing providers, is necessary to strengthen instead of duplicate services.
There's one other mild criticism of TMH the editorial board has today, and it's one that's been raised by past boards for years.
Simply put, the billing practices and methods at the hospital are a mess. They're tangled in red tape and require an almost intricate knowledge of the health care maze to navigate.
Patients find an easier, more reliable billing system down the road at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs.
We've heard some patients go to the Steamboat hospital instead of TMH for this very reason.
That, the editorial board believes, is unfortunate.
The health care options at Yampa Valley are no better than at TMH, and allowing patients and revenue to leak out of town because of something like billing isn't good for anyone.
It's a relief the days of a total overhaul needed at TMH are long gone. The hospital has improved in numerous ways in a short timeframe, and for this the editorial board is grateful.
What's needed today is simply ironing out the kinks and improving relationships to bolster rather than rebuild the local health care system, a move that will benefit everyone in our community one way or another.
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