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County invests in our health

Editorial

In May 2003, thunder and dark skies graced the historic groundbreaking for the new St. Anthony Summit Medical Center slated to open this December behind the County Commons outside of Frisco.

Last Friday, thunder, dark skies and rain ushered in another important day in Summit County history when ground was broken for the new 41,000-square-foot medical office building next to the new hospital.

We’re not sure what the weather has to do with the two events but the atmospheric drama certainly was equal to the importance of both events.

Taken together, the hospital and the medical offices will improve the quality of health care in Summit County. No longer will we have to travel to Vail or Denver for medical care and testing that these days is fairly routine.

Maybe the thunder was caused by the folks at the Vail Valley Medical Center wondering how their business will change. The publicly owned Summit County Ambulance Service also will have to adjust its budget as it will lose much of its current long-distance medical transports.

The medical office building is deemed to cost $20 million. The county commissioners are the developers. Half of the space in the building will be sold off to private practitioners, leaving taxpayers financing about $10 million for the Community Care Clinic and space for two other crucial nonprofits, Colorado West Regional Mental Health and Bristlecone Health.

That’s a lot of money invested in the community’s well-being and should not escape notice.

The Community Care Clinic promises a new era in medical care for locals and visitors who are underinsured and uninsured.

That’s many of our transient workers and more than a few of our mainstay working families slipping through the cracks of our current health care system.

Commissioners Tom Long, Bill Wallace, Bob French, county manager Ron Holliday and staff members have worked hard to give Summit County a healthier outlook. In his time, former county commissioner, now state Rep. Gary Lindstrom was in the heat of the battle.

We’re sure the incumbents had to choke hard as cost estimates for the project kept increasing. They’ve taken a big risk with taxpayers’ money to ensure a better future. Even if there’s a blip in building occupancy after it opens, we think the risk will have been worth it.


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