Health District outlines plans

The San Juan Health Service District is in the process of completing a strategic plan to address the clinic and hospital efforts of the district.

Phil Lowe, Executive Director of the district, outlined the process at the June 22 meeting of the San Juan County Commission.

The recent, unexpected death of Dr. Jim Redd has added an additional layer of complexity to the project.

Lowe told the Commissioners that Dr. Redd’s death “is a huge loss to the community and has left a large hole to fill for the hospital.” Lowe said the physicians plan to meet this week to discuss plans and assess the needs for the future.

Lowe was joined by Laurie Schafer, the Patient Care Director at the hospital, to discuss the strategic plan, which was funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the Commission. Complete details of the plan will be announced in coming weeks.

In general, Lowe said that the goal of the district is to be the provider of choice and the employer of choice in the area. As part of the strategic plan, the District is planning to seek funding to build a second surgical suite and recovery area at the San Juan Hospital. The project is expected to cost roughly $1 million.

The strategic plan is expected to outline how the hospital will operate after the opening of Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding. The new hospital is expected to open soon but has not yet been granted a final occupancy permit.

It is expected that San Juan Hospital could lose up to 55 percent of its patient load when the Blue Mountain Hospital opens. Commissioner Lynn Stevens questioned the logic of building a second surgical suite at a time when the district expects a drop in the number of patients.

Schafer said the second suite will allow the hospital to expand the variety of surgical procedures that are offered, as well as increasing the ability of the district to attract surgeons from out of town to perform procedures.

Stevens pointed out the need to weigh the expected increase in revenue against the cost of adding the additional suite. Lowe is set to present the district plans to the Utah Community Impact Board on July 2.

In other matters at the June 22 Commission meeting:

• The county will cover the cost of shipping care packages to the troops at the request of county resident Belina Asbury. The cost of shipping should be less than $200.

• The surveyor’s office will purchase a utility truck box for $5,832

San Juan Record

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