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Supporting The Wellness Center

To the Editor:

Medical science has come a long way since the 1960s. When a friend of mine was told by the Mayo Clinic (in 1962) that “her body was “attacking itself” it sounded like science fiction. At 16, when I was diagnosed “hypothyroid”, I did not even realize that it was MY introduction to this ever expanding field. While not an uncommon diagnosis today, back then it could be a life changing event. The doctor, besides prescribing medication, suggested I quit all my high school activities to go home to sleep every day after school.

Today, the diagnosis of various autoimmune conditions, from Psoriasis to Diabetes to MS to Cancer are all too prevalent in our society. Often triggered by stress, they are not caused by bacteria or viruses and therefore are not in any way contagious. In our modern age, chronic AI conditions are detectable, preventable, and treatable. But, once contracted, they are never curable. For many there are no medications. For most, the treatments involve “lifestyle changes”. Most medical clinics and hospitals across the United States can diagnose these chronic conditions. They can prescribe the appropriate lifestyle changes. But they do not have the trained professionals to prepare their patients for the day to day experience of these changes. This requires nutritionists, exercise therapists, meditation guides, environmental analysts, etc. By working with existing Estes Park facilities and supplementing as necessary, EPMC can provide total wellness care – designed to prevent future illness.

A medical facility willing to coordinate with these other treatment personnel is unique in today’s medical climate but it is also the wave of the future. Corporate giants are looking to wellness programs to increase their productivity. Insurance companies are offering more wellness benefits. Governmental entities are looking to wellness requirements to control the cost of healthcare. There is even talk of a tax per pound for the overweight.

A CU program, the Anschutz Wellness Center in Aurora, has an established wellness program based upon 20 years of research. But — what they could not forsee was the new field of wellness travel. Today, wellness vacations are the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. Worldwide, corporations are developing Wellness Travel Programs. The State of Colorado is on board and will be marketing Wellness Tourism. The goal is to become the “healthiest state in the nation”. But who wants to go to Aurora for a vacation? We are lucky that University of Colorado is willing to share their knowledge with other locations and that WE have been chosen for this opportunity.

Our Estes Park Medical Center needs additional income to remain independent. With the proposed wellness center on Lot 4, we not only preserve the services we now have, but also broaden the scope of preventative care. I have watched this facility grow for 50 years. The current arrangement of the Family Clinic, the ER, the Hospital, and the Specialty Clinic is ideal for this community. It is an important part of attracting new residents. I have heard some talk that the Wellness Center should be placed next to EPMC. However, it is in the best interest of the community to keep OUR hospital separate from the tourist oriented operations. We do not want the success of the Wellness Center to overshadow our normal medical care. By maintaining separate campuses we get the best of all worlds – funding for the hospital; increased local services; and independence.

While other Colorado communities are turning to fracking or an influx of large corporations, I believe that offering a unique, healthful, viable service is more in keeping with Estes Park. I am whole heartedly looking forward to seeing Estes Park on the leading edge of a medical breakthrough that will bring increased revenues, expanded services, and notoriety to our independent hospital and our town.

I urge you to vote YES on the SALE of Lot 4 and NO on the perpetual conservation easement.

Judi Smith


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