Shopping for socks and plastic stuff affects health care in Grand County
Some Grand County residents say they schedule appointments with doctors in Denver so they can also go shopping at that really, really big box store during the same trip. But are cheap socks, cleaning supplies and a glutton of Chinese-made plastic products really worth compromising local health care services?The cost of traveling to Denver for most health care services, which are readily available in Grand County, is estimated to be in the millions and the consequences are far-reaching.According to the Grand County Rural Health Network, Grand County is presently experiencing an out-migration for medical services at the alarming rate of 90 percent. That means that approximately $1.7 million to $2.5 million are being spent outside of Grand County annually.And this doesnt just affect health care. It also takes away dollars from other local businesses further draining the local economy.In a study done for the Grand County Rural Health Network by Oklahoma State University, it was determined that for every dollar spent on medical services in Grand County, 33 cents would be spent in other sectors. Imagine what retaining just $1 million could do for the local economy a $330,000 boon for local businesses because of health care.Using local health care providers also means additional jobs. If more residents chose to use local providers then they could hire additional staff. For every two health care positions created, another job is created in other sectors. This easily implemented, economic stimulus idea patronizing local health care providers doesnt come from the federal government or cost the taxpayers a dime.Look, I can understand the logic of wanting to take care of Denver to-do tasks after having a doctors visit, but if you think about it, the advantages of utilizing local health care providers not only positively benefit the local economy but also the continuity of personal health care.If we schedule with local providers, keeping their appointments full, we retain them as viable businesses in the community. When we retain these providers they become very familiar with our health and the health of our families and the care presumably gets better and better due to familiarity of our cases.There really is no need to travel outside Grand County for most medical care. Granted, Grand County health care doesnt provide some things such as oncology or some major specialized surgeries, but it does provide the most widely utilized services as well as many procedures and operations, therapies and rehabilitation.Many specialized services are offered right here including dermatology, internal medicine, urology, orthopedics, podiatry, plastic surgery, cardiology and general surgery to mention a few. (See monthly visiting specialty physician schedule regularly published in this newspaper).For family medicine needs, quality doctors are established countywide: Byers Peak Family Medicine, Peak Pediatrics and 7 Mile Medical Clinic in Winter Park, Fraser Medical Clinic, Timberline Family Practice and Granby Medical Center in Granby and at Mountain Valley Medical Center in Kremmling. Other services are listed in the Grand County Health & Human Services Directory available for free download at: http://www.kremmlinghospital.org .We are really fortunate to have the health care options we do here in Grand County and if we patronize these providers more, their services will be able to sustain and grow keeping us and our economy healthy. So think twice when you consider scheduling for medical care outside of Grand County. It might be offered right here.
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