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Hospital Board approves donation that funds local scholarships

by Carla Dolce

WALSENBURG- The Spanish Peaks Regional Hospital Board of Directors met last Wednesday evening and approved continuing its donation of $6,000  ($500/month for a year) to the Spanish Peaks HealthCare Foundation which will distribute about $4,000 in scholarships mostly to area high school students.  The hospital is considering tying scholarships to a commitment for recipients to work at the hospital as is done at other facilities.  The small size of the scholarships, however, may be an impediment to extracting a meaningful commitment. 

    In staffing news, Michelle Parks has been hired as the new marketing manager and will market the outreach clinics as well as the Veterans Home.  Dr. Lynn Johnson begins her employment at the hospital this week and two internal medicine candidates are being considered for the staff.

    On the financial end, the hospital will participate in a new state program that will increase Medicaid reimbursements and help reduce the half a million dollars the hospital loses annually by treating Medicaid patients.  The Board discussed the continuing problem of bad-debt patients and agreed the Hospital should deny non- emergency services to patients having a bad-debt history.  The hospital reported a loss for January of $62,311 which was $63,060 less than budgeted.

    Finally, Dr. David Zehring, president of the Board, discussed H.R. 1273, introduced in the Colorado State Assembly.  This bill would eventually lead to a universal single-payer health care system in Colorado.  Dr. Zehring is scheduled to testify on the positive impact this legislation would likely have on a rural area like Huerfano County.