In The News


Health News Roundup - Read the latest summary of health information for Montezuma County from the Cortez Journal.



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.



Board Certified Sleep Specialist Joins SWMH Team
January 11, 2013


Ed Razma, MD, has been named the new medical director of the Diagnostic Sleep Center at Southwest Memorial Hospital. Dr. Razma is board certified in sleep medicine, as well as in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine. He will oversee activities at the sleep center, interpret sleep studies, and see patients who self-refer or who are referred by their primary care physicians for sleep disorder evaluations.

“I got into sleep medicine and became board certified in the specialty in 2009 because I saw that there was an acute shortage of physicians trained to deal with sleep disorders, an issue that is becoming more common as our population ages,” said Razma.

According to Razma, research on sleep disorders has burgeoned in recent years with studies revealing how untreated, long-term sleep problems are associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer. “Patients today are more interested staying healthy and many who may have ignored their sleep problems in the past are now realizing that not sleeping is not normal and that it causes them to feel poorly,” said Razma. Symptoms of sleep disorders include daytime drowsiness, the inability to concentrate, low energy, irritability, and snoring.

For more information about the Diagnostic Sleep Center at Southwest Memorial Hospital call 564-2678.


Southwest Health System Welcomes New Board Member
December 13, 2012


The board of directors of Southwest Health System, Inc. recently welcomed Mr. Clyde Benally to the board. Benally brings a wealth of experience to the organization and has a deep commitment to the community. He grew up in southeast Utah and has resided in Cortez since 1979.

“My goal in being on the board is to help ensure that the quality of the service is maintained while keeping the hospital financially viable for the future,” said Benally. “We must keep in mind what the hospital is here for which is to make people well.”

Now retired, Benally worked in education and in the oil and gas industry for many years. A Vietnam veteran, he has served as a leader in the Elk’s organization and also assisted with the local post of the American Legion. Benally was one of the founding members of the Cortez Cultural Center, served for ten years on the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, has been a member of the parent advisory group for Native American students for the Montezuma-Cortez School District, and currently serves as an advisor for students attending Fort Lewis College. He is frequently invited to give presentations to student and teacher groups on Navajo language and culture. Benally published a Navajo history textbook in the early 1980s that is still in use today at the junior high school level. He also works as a seasonal park ranger at Mesa Verde. Benally’s wife, Rose, teaches at Mesa Elementary School. Their grown children live in Durango.

Southwest Memorial Hospital Welcomes Dr. Dustin Cole
September 4, 2012

Interventional Pain Management specialist Dustin M. Cole, MD, has joined Southwest Memorial Physicians, a Southwest Health System, Inc. affiliated clinic located at 20 South Market Street in Cortez. Dr. Cole graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, did his preliminary training at Mayo Clinic in Internal Medicine, his residency training at Mayo Clinic in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and then completed a fellowship in Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine at Mayo Clinic in the Department of Anesthesiology. Dr. Cole is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and board eligible in Pain Medicine.

Dr. Cole’s goal is to restore function and reduce suffering for patients with acute and chronic pain. He specializes in comprehensive, non-operative joint and spine care in addition to treating a wide variety of pain disorders including low back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain, myofascial pain, sciatica/radiculopathy, shingles, spinal stenosis, abdominal wall pain, complex regional pain syndrome/RSD, fibromyalgia, and others.

Dr. Cole utilizes a conservative, narcotic-sparing approach centered around appropriate procedures, physical therapy, and tailored medical treatment. He is skilled in performing ultrasound and fluoroscopically guided injections and has conducted research in interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound. Procedures include epidural steroid injections, facet injections, medial branch blocks/radiofrequency ablation for spine pain, sacroiliac joint injections, joint and bursa injections, and nerve blocks among others. He will perform procedures both in his office and at Southwest Memorial Hospital, depending on the needs of individual patients.

Dr. Cole grew up in the Four Corners Region and is happy to return to the area with his wife, an educational consultant, and their three young children. He looks forward to working closely with regional medical providers to serve the needs of patients in the Four Corners.

Patients and referring physicians may call 565-0712 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Cole accepts all major insurance plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid.