While my wife, our four kids and I have been a part of the Durango community for a relatively short portion of Mercy’s 137-year history – nine years this past September to be exact – to our family, this is home. As our children have grown up and we’ve immersed ourselves in this community, their memories and ours are rooted here.
In addition to remembering the beauty of Durango when we first arrived, I was also proud to listen to my neighbors’, friends’ and communities’ views of the incredible caregivers and exceptional hospital I had just joined and their experiences of the outstanding quality of care that patients receive there.
Being a leader in health care has challenges. It’s no secret that some of the most complex issues facing the health care industry are affordability and transparency – so how will we address the cost issues associated with quality health care?
I will boldly state what we all know – to be meaningful, it must come from all of us – hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, heath care providers and even consumers.
Providing health care in today’s political and economic landscape is difficult. As we seek ways to keep quality health care services close to home, the change required to accomplish this goal is often disruptive and can have a disproportionate impact on close-knit communities. Change feels different when the affected people are friends and neighbors.
I feel that deeply. Tough decisions have been made, and future tough decisions will need to be made, to balance the cost of care with access, quality and service offerings.
As the second largest employer in La Plata County, Mercy is a strong hospital, both financially and with regards to quality. That strength allows us to provide a breadth of services not often found in communities our size. Making sure the future of those services continue is a critical factor in any decision Mercy makes.
Meanwhile, we also believe in advancing the health of our communities. Some ways Mercy does this is through health and education programs in weight management, diabetes wellness, literary sponsorships for community youth, grocery store tours, breastfeeding and lactation consultation, athletic trainers serving the regional youth athletic programs and financial support for Manna soup kitchen.
By Mercy being part of Centura Health, we benefit from lower supply costs and better purchase pricing for the latest technology, such as the one-stick blood draw technology introduced this summer that reduces discomfort for patients who need to stay in the hospital. In addition, as part of the Centura health system, we connect people in this community with outstanding services on the Front Range when they need them.
Centura Health is proud to be a willing and committed partner to this community while all of us search for a solution in reducing health care costs in La Plata County. We’ll continue to deliver the same high-quality, whole-person care that residents and visitors have come to rely on since 1882, and we hope that all of us can work together to make care become significantly more affordable.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss community concerns directly and can be reached during office hours at 764-3907. If unavailable at the time of a call, I will strive to get back with individuals in a timely fashion.
Centura and Mercy are committed to making health care better wherever we are. I believe that this community has a lot to be proud of, and it is my goal to make sure Mercy stays at the top of that list.
Will McConnell is the president and CEO of Mercy Regional Medical Center.