Gunnison Valley Hospital future is bright, says report
GUNNISON—The chairman of the Gunnison Valley Hospital Governing Board painted a bright picture of the current state and future prospects for the community medical facility in a report to the Gunnison City Council last week.
At a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 25, Shawn Crane said that first and foremost, the hospital was doing very well financially. Following a recent audit, Crane said, auditors were pleased with by the finances and general operations of GVH.
“GVH is in the black,” Crane said. “It always has been. It’s a very competitive facility in the rural hospital arena. During the past several years, the industry has taken a downturn. Thanks to good leadership and the efforts of our staff, our hospital has been able to remain in black when other facilities are struggling to do the same.”
Crane also elaborated on the positive impact the hospital continues to make in the community. In 2016, GVH had 196 employees. During fiscal 2016, GVH paid $6,045,000 in salaries and wages. But if you consider the multiplier effect, he said, those wages had an impact of $9,068,000 to $12,090,000 on the communities in Central Utah.
The GVH runs a program to help people get medical care they might not otherwise be able to afford. Last year, the hospital’s charity care program helped 173 patients bridge the gap between their ability to pay and their full medical costs. The hospital put about $296,000 into the program during 2016.
Crane told the city council the hospital had garnered some awards over the past year.
GVH was recognized by the National Rural Health Resource Center for excellence in care coordination and received the 2016 Women’s Choice Award in obstetrics. Meanwhile, the Gunnison Valley home health agency received the HealthInsight Quality Award for improving patient-centered care.
“We have an exceptional staff,” Crane said, “which is probably why we do so well, along with being affordable and working with people. (Patients) have good experiences and want to come back to GVH instead of (going) somewhere else.”
Gunnison City Councilman Thayne Carlisle supported Crane’s evaluation of local residents’ preference for GVH with an anecdote about someone he knew. Carlisle said his acquaintance works at a different hospital but chooses to bring his family to GVH because of the affordable, quality care.
As part of his report, Crane cited an example of one non-Sanpete resident who chose GVH for medical care.
Judith and Dick Teasdale lived in Teasdale, Wayne County. When Judith was told she needed to have a knee replacement surgery, she told her husband she wanted to recover from her surgery at GVH.
According to Crane, during Judith’s nine-day hospital stay, she reported that the care
she received from the GVH nurses, physical therapists and her doctor was above and beyond her expectations.
Before she went home, Crane says Teasdale told hospital administrators, “The hospital staff was professional, knowledgeable and most importantly caring. My hat is off to you and your employees, and my thanks to everyone for getting me back on my feet quickly.”
Crane told the council the clinic that GVH had established in Monroe was doing very well and had a “surprisingly strong presence in the town.”
Crane said the hospital is continuing to add services as the surrounding community grows.
“This year, we’ve significantly enhanced our orthopedic services to allow procedures such as total joint replacement to be done locally,” Crane said. “We want to expand further in that area. We would like to add a new operating area in the hospital for it.”
Councilman Andy Hill asked Crane if there was any chance of an after-hours, “urgent care” clinic being offered.
Hill said he felt that many of the emergency room visits at the hospital would be better addressed with a traditional primary care physician. Not only are the incidents often not severe enough to require the emergency room, but a traditional physician visit would often be more affordable, he said.
Crane said some doctors make themselves available after hours, or offer extended hours, but right now, there are no plans to offer such a clinic in the valley.
In closing, the council asked Crane if he had heard any updates on a rumor that Intermountain Health Care might open a hospital in Ephraim .
Crane said as far as he knew, there was nothing to substantiate the claims.
“We are just going to move forward with our services and maintain(ing) our market share in the area,” he said.