The voters of the South Park region of Park County have the opportunity to bring sustainable, local health care back through ballot measures 5A, 5B and 5C in November.

These measures will establish the South Park Health Services District, supported by a 1 percent sales tax on non-grocery items.

Preliminary estimates suggest that close to $300,000 will be raised in this manner – 70-80 percent paid by tourists in the area.

The current status of health-related services in Park County is at a crisis level. At this time, there are no primary care providers in the county.

There are no physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants who accept Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. There is no pharmacy and no durable medical goods provider.

Looking at the history of health care in Park County, access to medical care has been a challenge since the late 1980s when Dr. Edward McNamara died and his hospital and clinic closed.

Over the years many providers have come and gone. Most left the area because they were unable to meet the cost of providing care with the revenues generated by their clinics.

Financial assessments done by several entities over the past two years show that between $200,000 - $300,000/year of support is needed to keep a full service, five days per week, primary care clinic open.

Based on the experience from the past and conversations with potential clinic partners, the South Park community will need to bring this level of financial support to the table to be successful in establishing a sustainable primary care clinic in the area.

The SPHSD will have an elected board of directors to negotiate the partnership agreement with a health care provider and provide oversight to clinic activities.

The clinic will be required to take Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurance. It will also develop a plan in order to provide affordable care to the uninsured.

Additionally, the clinic will keep a limited in-house pharmacy which carries essential medications such as antibiotics to address the problem of no full-service pharmacy in the area.

Primary care services for pediatrics, adult and senior patients will be required as well as urgent care and on-call services.

The district will be a not for profit entity with all tax monies collected going to support clinic activities.

For this measure to be successful, “yes” votes are needed on all three questions – 5A (formation of the district), 5B (approval of the 1 percent sales tax) and 5C (“de-Brucing” the revenues generated).

The information in this article was provided by Bring Health Care Back to South Park Issues Committee. Contact Dr. Katherine Fitting at 303-319-9571 or email at kfittingmd@rmrh.org

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