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Please Be Informed When You Vote

To The Editor:

I have been a registered nurse for over forty years and in hospital administration for well over thirty years. I have witnessed monumental changes in the healthcare system. I work at the Estes Park Medical Center but I am speaking now as a private citizen about the proposed EPMC-Anschutz Wellness Center in Estes Park.

I have not seen, in my entire career, an opportunity that has the potential that the EPMC-Anschutz Wellness Center promises for improving our community, supporting our critical access hospital, and staying in tune with the trends in health care and wellness in our state and nationally!

Every year, hospitals must balance ever more expensive technology and inflation with decreases in reimbursement. As in any business, hospitals must have a certain volume of business to afford to provide the desired level of services and technology. In addition non-complex care is being moved away from hospitals toward lower-cost outpatient settings—thus decreasing hospital volumes even more.

As all of these factors converge, hospitals are forced to consider other revenue and service lines that will support the very high-cost, high-risk, complex services that do not have the business volume to otherwise be financially feasible for the for-profit centers. Most, if not all, small rural and critical access hospitals face this challenge—finding ways to maintain these critical services.

Some people say ”Why can’t we just maintain the status quo? Why do we have to change?” Well, the answer is that there is no “status quo.”

Some people might say, “If the hospital just managed its finances better they would not need to look for other revenue streams.” Hospitals are not like any other business; we are first and foremost a humanitarian and service organization that takes care of everyone, whether they are able to pay or not.

In the meantime—why would voters turn down an opportunity to provide better sustainability to a major employer and organization that is key to attracting and keeping residents in the Estes Valley? Many people have told me they retired here because there are good medical services.

Please be well informed when you go to vote on April 1st. I believe strongly that this project will help provide economic stability for Estes Park and will lead to a future where cutting-edge wellness programs will be available for you and me.

I have personally cared for people who were dying of respiratory illnesses that could have been prevented with proper intervention, education, and coaching—yet, that proper care was not available and not affordable. I have personally cared for people who needed help to change their lifestyle, but the follow-up and encouragement and expert advice that would help them navigate to a better life situation were not available. So their emotional and physical health continued to deteriorate.

I feel so strongly about this that I invite you get the facts by contacting me directly at 719-588-3203 or at bobbiswenson@gmail.com or by calling, emailing, or visiting with the volunteers on the “Estes Park Wellness Coalition” at epwcoalition@gmail.com and the website at www.yesforestes.com .

Bobbi Swenson, MPH, RN, NHA, FACHE

 

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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