Added services at hospital in new year


    The Pagosa Springs Medical Center will once again kick off a new year by expanding the services it offers to patients.

    In 2013, PSMC will add both orthopedics and women’s services.

    Both additions, according to PSMC CEO Brad Cochennet in an interview with SUN staff, already have the most difficult part in place: physicians.

    “It’s hard to find talent and get physicians interested. It’s eighty percent of the issue in offering new services,” Cochennet said.

    For the orthopedic business plan, Cochennet said that two surgeons with Durango Orthopedic Associates, Robert Goodman and Kimberley Fury, expressed interest in offering more services. Cochennet explained that Goodman and Fury for the past 10 years have been seeing patients once a week at Jim Pruitt’s Pagosa Family Medical Center.

    “They’ve demonstrated loyalty to the area and to their patients, and they were wanting to do more services,” Cochennet said. In the past, if after the first visit the patient needed a surgical procedure, they had to make the drive to Durango. Starting in January, though, many of those procedures could be performed at PSMC.

    Initially, the surgeons will not be able to do emergent procedures, but will schedule surgical procedures. The orthopedic services offered will include everything from acute to degenerative bone or joint conditions related to aging, such as diagnostic treatment, MRI, joint replacement and minimally invasive surgeries. After this initial phase, it is expected the surgeons will add knee and shoulder scopes and procedures for reduction of internal fixation of hand, wrist and ankle.

    The surgeons will bill for the services and collect their own professional fees; none are estimated in the financial forecast.

    The equipment for these initial procedures is estimated to cost $90,000, including basic ortho trays and a power driver tray. In the first year of offering this service, 2013, PSMC expects the total expense to be $152,600 and total net revenue to be $321,600.

    If a patient would need further or more extensive care than is offered at PSMC, Cochennet said the good thing about having the Durango Orthopedic Associates as surgeons at PSMC is the ease with which the next level of care in Durango can be arranged.

    “It’s a nice partnership,” Cochennet said. Goodman will see patients at PSMC for the first time on Dec. 12.

    For the women’s services addition, Cochennet said physicians and surgeons already on board at PSMC have enthusiastically stepped into the roles of performing women’s procedures. Currently, the only female surgeon in southwest Colorado is working in Pagosa — Amber Reiss-Holt. Reiss-Holt is triple board certified in general surgery, emergency medicine and critical care and can perform diagnostic and therapeutic breast procedures for breast cancer and benign breast disease such as biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies and sentinel lymph node biopsies.

    The other physician is Nicole Pinkerton, who is board certified in OB/GYN and currently holds a gynecology clinic at PSMC one day a month.

    “We already have the doctor piece in place,” Cochennet said.

    What is not yet in place is the diagnostic piece?— a mammography machine with a price tag of $300,000.

    To provide an entire women’s services package at PSMC, including equipment and physician and additional staff salaries, the price is $600,000. PSMC Development Director Claire Bradshaw said that an eight-month, grassroots fund-raising campaign will be used to provide these funds. Bradshaw is anticipating that 50 percent or more of the funds will be raised through large donations from a few lead donors.

    “We’re hoping to create momentum through the large initial gift,” Bradshaw said. The rest would be raised through the pursuit of grants and smaller donations from the community.

    Bradshaw said that once $300,000 is raised, the diagnostic aspect of the women’s services plan will begin.

    “How many people choose not get a mammogram because it’s not easy? It’s too far away?” Cochennet asked. “If we have the capability to provide this service locally, and the follow-up surgical piece can be done here as well, hopefully more people will get their early detection screenings.”

    Cochennet said he is proud of the proactive approach toward health that PSMC is taking.

    Potential programs, not included in the business plan, that could be added to the women’s services include genetic testing, bone density screenings, breast MRI, obstetrics, diagnostic mammography, stereotactic biopsies, needle localization biopsies, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

    Bradshaw added that PSMC is trying to take a holistic approach to women’s services. More women, Bradshaw said, die of stroke and heart attack than breast cancer. With an Innovation Grant the hospital was awarded, Bradshaw said all aspects of the program will come together to help treat the whole woman.

    Those interested in donating and contact Bradshaw at 731-3700, Ext. 317.