Health care forum held in Cortez
25 held across Western Slope
Club 20 is starting to address health care on the Western Slope of Colorado.
Founded in 1953, the organization recently held its first health care forum in Cortez.
Stefani Conley, an independent consultant who served as facilitator for the forum, said 24 people participated in a question-and-answer session on health care issues on Aug. 28.
A diverse group of participants was also involved in verbal give-and-take in small teams.
Discussions included talking about health care challenges and issues, what’s good about health care in the community and what’s not so good.
Examples of things that locals think are good in the community include: Southwest Memorial Hospital and its possible expansion, emergency services, physicians and Cortez Integrated Healthcare.
Some examples of weaknesses include: specialists being hard to find, too many uninsured/underinsured residents, hard to attract physicians due to the reputation of the area’s educational system, lack of clarity about insurance, and few Medicare/Medicaid providers. Some also expressed dissatisfaction with having to drive to Durango for health care.
Tazwell Vass, co-owner of Dolores Food Market, expressed concern about small businesses and their inability to offer health insurance to employees. How the Affordable Care Act will impact small businesses was also discussed.
Cortez is one of 25 Western Slope communities hosting health care forums, Conley said. The forums started in March. The last one will be held in mid-November. All results will be tabulated and shared amongst the communities online by December. Results will also be shared with Club 20’s Health Care Committee and could be used to lobby the state Legislature on behalf of the Western Slope communities.
The forums are brought about by grant funding from The Colorado Trust.