In The News

 

Treatment Options for Serious Pain - Dr. Cole

The following excerpt is from an August 14, 2014 article in the Cortez Journal:

 

"Everyone experiences pain from time to time. Often it’s fleeting and goes away without any treatment at all within a few minutes (remember the last time you stubbed your toe?) or over the course of a few days or weeks, such as when you pull a muscle or suffer some other type of minor injury. 

But pain can also be chronic and – for some people – severe enough to interfere with their ability to work, perform routine activities, and enjoy life. These are the individuals that Cortez-based interventional pain management specialist Dustin Cole, MD, sees in his office every week.

" 'For patients with chronic pain, we always try the least invasive treatments first,” said Cole. “If lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or medications specific to the type of pain a patient has are not effective then we start to consider an interventional approach to provide relief.' "

 

Read the rest of the article...

 

 

Healthy Aging - Dr. McNeill

The following excerpt is from a July 3, 2014 article in the Cortez Journal:

 

"Why is that some people ease into their older years with relative ease, while others struggle with a chronic illness or an annoying array of medical problems?

 

According to Cortez internal medicine specialist Bryant McNeill, MD, part of the difference comes down to luck of the draw. 'Something you can’t control is genetics,' said McNeill. Even someone who eats well, exercises, watches their weight, and sees their doctor regularly can end up with, for example, high cholesterol. That condition – along with a variety of others including diabetes and arthritis – is often hereditary.

 

You can’t choose your parents, but you can choose to play the cards you’re dealt in ways that will help increase the odds feeling well into your 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond. 'A healthy lifestyle and preventive care go a long, long way toward aging gracefully,' said McNeill.

 

'People come to me and say,' ‘I was in really good health until I turned whatever age or until whatever happened, then I started having all these problems’,' said McNeill. For one person that whatever age could be 45 and for another it might be 65. The whatever event could be getting injured and, as a result, not being able to exercise, putting on pounds, and then dealing with health issues related to the extra weight. Or the event might be something more serious like a hip fracture or a cancer diagnosis.

 

'The challenge is that as we age we tend to start accumulating problems. The systems start to rebel a little bit,' said McNeill. 'It can be frustrating. But I’ve also seen a lot of people age amazingly well by doing things that I personally intend to emulate.' Some of these, according to McNeill, include staying active, eating right, spending time with family and friends, learning new things, and generally enjoying life." Read the rest of the article...

 

 

Men's Health - Dr. McAlpin

The following excerpt is from a June 5, 2014 article in the Cortez Journal:

 

"June is national Men’s Health Month, the aim of which is to increase awareness about preventable health problems and encourage early detection of treatment of disease among men of all ages.

 

We spoke with Cortez internal medicine specialist Dr. Andrew McAlpin to get his take on what men can and should do to stay as healthy as they can for as long as they can.

 

'When we look at what men die from, the big ones are heart disease, cancer and diabetes,' said McAlpin. All of those are, in part, lifestyle-related and may be prevented with proper diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. 'Diet, exercise, diet, exercise . . . we say it all the time because it’s so important,' said McAlpin.

 

Preventive health care is key for any man intent in living a long, active life.

 

'Men tend to see their health care providers somewhat less often than women because they don’t come in for routinely for screenings like pap smears,' said McAlpin. 'I personally request that all my patients come to see me at least every three years, and after age 50, they should come in once a year.' " Read the rest of the article...

 

Skin Cancer - Dr. Schenk

The following excerpt is from a May 1, 2014 article in the Cortez Journal:

 

"We’re fortunate to live in an area that has many more clear days than cloudy ones. The bright, beautiful weather is one thing that draws people to live in the Four Corners, and anyone who has ever endured month after month of gray skies knows that living where it’s sunny can result in a sunny disposition.

 

But all of that sun has a downside. Exposure to the UV radiation the sun produces is the primary cause of skin cancer. As summer approaches and longer days give us even more reasons to enjoy the outdoors, Cortez family physician Jill Schenk, MD, has a piece of advice we should all heed: protect your skin.

 

There are three main types of skin cancer: squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma. These three cancers show up in different ways on the body. Schenk says anyone who has a sore or abnormal spot on their skin that does not clear up within a month, a mole or other lesion that appears very suddenly, or any type of irregularly shaped or colored mole should have it checked out by their primary care provider." Read the rest of the article...

 

Healthy Feet - Dr. Cook

The following excerpt is from an April 3, 2014 article in the Cortez Journal

 

"You can’t pick up a magazine, turn on the television, or go online without seeing something about keeping your heart healthy, your brain active, your gastrointestinal system functioning smoothly, and your reproductive organs doing – shall we say – what they were designed to do. But feet? Well, aside from the occasional story where an A-list celebrity is seen on the red carpet in a stunning pair of Jimmy Choo’s, feet don’t get much press.

 

Until now.

 

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month. We spoke with Cortez podiatrist Terry Cook, DPM, about what people can do to keep their feet healthy. It all starts, he says, with good foot hygiene." Read the rest of the article...

 

Medical Training Ground - Read the information from the Cortez Journal featuring the variety of medical training programs conducted at Southwest Health System, Inc.


Hospital Charges in the News


Recently there has been a lot of news coverage regarding the prices hospitals charge. It all started with the excellent article in Time Magazine called, “The Bitter Pill.” Then, on May 9, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a list of hospital-specific charges for the more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals that receive Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) payments for the top 100 most frequently billed discharges in 2011. Unfortunately, since Southwest Memorial is not part of the IPPS, we’re a critical access hospital, our data was not part of this release.


In order to help our community compare, below is a list of average hospital charges for Southwest Memorial using the same criteria the government followed for their data. To compare, use our prices below and lookup the same DRG for any other hospital using the link above.


DRG Description Number of
Cases (2011)
SHS Average
Charge
065 - INTRACRANIAL HEMORRHAGE OR CEREBRAL INFARCTION W CC 12 $20,732.50
066 - INTRACRANIAL HEMORRHAGE OR CEREBRAL INFARCTION W/O CC/MCC 14 $13,325.29
176 - PULMONARY EMBOLISM W/O MCC 16 $13,810.21
190 - CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE W MCC 17 $26,505.66
192 - CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE W/O CC/MCC 17 $10,190.80
194 - SIMPLE PNEUMONIA & PLEURISY W CC 27 $17,254.42
195 - SIMPLE PNEUMONIA & PLEURISY W/O CC/MCC 25 $16,152.96
203 - BRONCHITIS & ASTHMA W/O CC/MCC 17 $6,586.12
309 - CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA & CONDUCTION DISORDERS W CC 13 $12,932.58
310 - CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA & CONDUCTION DISORDERS W/O CC/MCC 14 $8,733.97
330 - MAJOR SMALL & LARGE BOWEL PROCEDURES W CC 15 $37,075.85
378 - G.I. HEMORRHAGE W CC 22 $17,429.77
392 - ESOPHAGITIS, GASTROENT & MISC DIGEST DISORDERS W/O MCC 22 $12,887.38
419 - LAPAROSCOPIC CHOLECYSTECTOMY W/O C.D.E. W/O CC/MCC 18 $19,254.22
470 - MAJOR JOINT REPLACEMENT OR REATTACHMENT OF LOWER EXTREMITY W/O MCC 74 $28,719.96
536 - FRACTURES OF HIP & PELVIS W/O MCC 11 $11,785.73
641 - MISC DISORDERS OF NUTRITION,METABOLISM,FLUIDS/ELECTROLYTES W/O MCC 27 $11,836.94
690 - KIDNEY & URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS W/O MCC 18 $14,127.68
871 - SEPTICEMIA OR SEVERE SEPSIS W/O MV 96+ HOURS W MCC 26 $23,382.88
872 - SEPTICEMIA OR SEVERE SEPSIS W/O MV 96+ HOURS W/O MCC 16 $20,681.81
918 - POISONING & TOXIC EFFECTS OF DRUGS W/O MCC 20 $17,485.67
948 - SIGNS & SYMPTOMS W/O MCC 16 $11,296.55

Southwest Health System reviews its charges on an annual basis, and sets the charges based on cost, just like any other business. We also strive to keep our charges among the lowest in Colorado.



Southwest Health System Supports Medicaid Expansion in Colorado


Did you know that Montezuma County has about 5,300 residents who are uninsured and not presently eligible for Medicaid? These individuals would greatly benefit from the expansion of Medicaid coverage in Colorado as proposed by the Affordable Care Act. Expanding the coverage for the uninsured leads to an overall reduction in the costs of uncompensated care that ends up being shifted to insured patients and the business community that provides health insurance to their employees.


Last year, Southwest Health System provided $2M in financial assistance and another $5.4M in bad debts. The residents of Cortez and Montezuma County need, and deserve, a financially strong hospital. SHS is a major economic driver in Montezuma County with 384 employees, a payroll of $19.2M and, related economic impact of over $22.4M.


Watch the short video below to learn how this expansion may help you.




Southwest Memorial Named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital
March 11, 2013


Southwest Memorial Hospital was recently named one of the HealthStrong™ Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the United States. “Being named to this list is testimony to the great dedication of all of you not only to Southwest Health System, but to our patients and our community,’ said Kent Helwig, CEO. 'Southwest Memorial Hospital has been named to that 2013 list of Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals. Of the 1,331 critical access hospitals in the United States, our facility is one of the nation’s best rural safety-net institutions.”


Other HealthStrong™ Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in Colorado included Aspen Valley Hospital in Aspen, Heart of the Rockies Medical Center in Salida, and Gunnison Valley Health of Gunnison. Each scored best among critical access hospitals on the iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index™. The 2013 Top 100 CAH announcement is the second release of this important designation.


The Hospital Strength Index is first-ever comprehensive rating of CAHs and the results recognize the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals that provide a “safety-net “to communities across rural America – measuring them across 56 different performance metrics, including quality, outcomes, patient perspective, affordability and efficiency. More information can be found at www.iVantageHealth.com.


“Rural hospitals play a critical role in providing needed care to communities across America, yet the challenges are completely different while being as complex as urban hospitals. The need for enhanced performance and a framework for success are equally important as hospitals prepare for the impact of health reform,” said John Morrow, EVP of iVantage Health Analytics.