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Pagosa Mountain Clinic to open Wellness Center

The Pagosa Mountain Clinic is six months old and already a thriving family practice business.

The clinic is expanding its services to offer more preventative alternatives in health care. Brad Cochennet, CEO of Pagosa Mountain Hospital, said the motto is “‘Live Better, Live Longer,’ because, really, we don’t want to see you here.”

In an effort to back up this motto, the clinic has created a new Wellness Center.

The Wellness Center will open to the public on Jan. 15. The center will offer an array of services to assist individuals in maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

Services include help with smoking cessation, cholesterol screenings and body fat analysis, as well as providing for any lab work deemed necessary. These services are being offered in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic, with membership in the Mayo Clinic diet program available to anyone wanting to lose weight and feel healthier.

The program is designed to offer educational classes on nutrition and fitness in conjunction with the diet plan. The goal is to help individuals understand some of the reasons they are overweight and to take several different approaches tailored to their individual needs to help them live healthier lives.

Kelly Johnson, administrative coordinator, and her staff offer support and encouragement to participants in the program. She stated that taking baby steps with clients, working with the individual to address specific needs and educating them produce positive results.

“It is amazing the impact a small amount of information can have in breaking through an individual’s barriers,” said Johnson.

Johnson explained that the plan is to work with the whole person, offer guidance in nutrition, deal with mental health and why the client gained weight in the first place, and examine triggers and provide stress management. In working with individuals with injuries, the staff tries to find different exercises clients can do either from a chair, or in water if weight bearing is an issue.

Cochennet noted the importance of follow up. “Often a person doesn’t want to know or they find out something is of concern and they don’t come back. Follow up is part of the Mayo Clinic diet program.”

The cost of the diet program is $39 per month, $225 for six months, or $425 for a full year. Services received with membership, in addition to the support offered by Johnson and her staff, are weekly support meetings, a monthly Mayo Clinic newsletter, monthly educational classes, cholesterol screening and body fat analysis. With a full year membership, clients receive free lab work and 52 free exercise classes at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. Additionally, all participants receive discounts at local participating businesses.

Local restaurants have partnered with the Pagosa Mountain Hospital and the Wellness Center to provide healthy alternative items on their menus and mark them with the “Live Better, Live Longer” logo so diners will know they can go out and eat at a restaurant without blowing their diets.

The program has already proven successful and the work with the Mayo Clinic has been a positive collaboration.

The staff at Pagosa Mountain Hospital and the clinic is working hard to expand services and offer the best quality medical care possible to the people of Pagosa. The clinic offers a sliding fee scale for family practice services. Individuals needing a checkup who are unable to pay can go to the Department of Human Services office at Town Hall and get a voucher for use at the clinic.

For more information on the Mayo Clinic diet program, visit the website at