Patient says closing clinic ‘bad decision’

I am a 10-year patient at the Internal Medicine clinic on Highway 50. I have learned from staff that they are closing at the end of December, and I have yet to be informed of that by HRRMC. In an interview with KVRH CEO Ken Leisher said that letters regarding the status of Internal Medicine services will go out in the next two weeks. That leaves precious little time to find a new doctor, have records transferred, get prescriptions transferred, etc.

The specialty of Internal Medicine is simply a general practioner for adults. The reason given for closing the clinic is that it is not producing ENOUGH profits. I find this decision to be misguided and very harmful to the public that HRRMC serves.

Many of these patients are elderly and not able to navigate the maze of medical bureaucracy and will be terrorized at the news. The board and the management of HRRMC are doing this with financial concerns, trumping the medical welfare of the public they are obligated to serve! We levied a tax on ourselves to allow these directors to consider more than just the BOTTOM LINE.

This is a BAD DECISION and will hurt many people, more than 1,300 according to KVRH. I hope that you and those who are concerned with the quality of health care in this valley will speak up and ask the CEO and board of HRRMC to reconsider their decision to close the Internal Medicine clinic.

Fred Rollo
Poncha Springs, Colo.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

9 Responses to “Patient says closing clinic ‘bad decision’”

    • Citizen Team

      We are unclear about the impact of Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA) on this decision. However, the clinic, and the hospital have a long history of trying to establish a local care system that works for each of the Doctor's philosophies and patient's needs. The clinic was built prior to the new hospital as well, further complicating the issue. The PPACA will likely have some impact (perhaps positive, but the prospect of researching the issue for this reply gives us headaches). Regardless, the financial issues associated with the offsite facility preceded the implementation of the PPACA. Hopefully, HRRMC will give us additional insight on this thread. Thanks for your question.

      HRRMC press release here.

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  1. Jay Moore

    I have no knowledge of the inside financials (meaning the clinic itself) or the politics of the hospital medical staff, board, or employees. So I do not know how/why this decision was made.

    However, this helps to underline an enormous difficulty, approaching American Medical Care. This is the absolute collapse of the number of physicians doing primary care. Primary care physicians are, compared to their surgical, and sub-speciality colleages, underpaid. They are well compensated compared to many in the general population, but not in the over all field of medicine. The decades long change in the cost medical school education, from a few thousand, to hundreds of thousands, has driven medical students to make the logical economic choise of going into the more lucrative speciality areas. This leads to ultimately, fewer practicing physicians in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Practice, Psychiatry. This does not mean no one will do the primary care, as two adjuncts to physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants, are professionals capable of providing routine health care. There will need to be major changes in patient expectations all over the country. How many of the primary care physicians in Chaffee County are nearing retirement? So, how can the hospital district deal with this one?


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  2. Jane Smith

    I, too, heard rumors (earlier this fall) about possible closing of the Internal Medicine clinic, dependent on the outcome of the election this year. It looks like they stood by their principles.

    Thanks, Obamacare!!

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    • Fred Rollo

      Obamacare had NOTHING to do with the hospitals decision to close the Internal Medicine Clinic! Read the Team Citizen post above. This decision was made long before the election.
      The next thing you know GLOBAL WARMING will be blamed on Obamacare.

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  3. Chuck Rose

    It would be helpful, when blaming "Obamacare", if the writers would explain specifically how they believe the Affordable Care Act caused HRRMC to make their decision to close the clinic.
    Chuck Rose

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  4. Citizen Team

    Per Chuck's question, please consider that there are lots of places where people can say things without having knowledge on a topic: MSNBC on the left, FOX NEWS on the right, The Mountain Mail LTE locally come to mind But at the Citizen we try to learn from, and educate each other while limiting the partisan and media driven B.S.

    If you can move the dialogue forward with good information, it's much appreciated. Obamacare may be a great thing for America, or a terrible thing. Time will tell. Considering that we do not know yet —and we certainly don't know if Obamacare was the motivation to close the clinic, being curious may be a refreshing position. -bd

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  5. Fred Rollo

    I could not agree more. HRRMC,CEO Ken Leisher specically sited the loss of the two current Internists as the reason to close Internal Medicine, both in the Mountain Mail press release and in his telephone conversation with me on Monday the 28th. He also inferred a lack of revenue. He then contradicted that by saying that were the two doctors not to leave,HRRMC would have "stuck with" Internal Medicine.
    "Obamacare" was never mentioned!

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