Monday, April 20, 2020

Commissioners Write to Gov. Polis on Western Slope Memory Care Lease

The Board of Mesa County Commissioners today sent a letter to Governor Polis regarding the Western Slope Memory Care Center lease.

The letter states:

"The Mesa County Board of Commissioners submits this letter to express our concerns regarding the recent lease the Colorado state Unified Command Group (UCG) completed on the Western Slope Memory Care (WSMC) Facility aimed at serving as an alternative care facility should there be a surge in critical COVID-19 cases in western Colorado, which we found out about via press release.

As of today, in Mesa County, we have 35 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, 32 recovered, 748 negative tests, and two hospitalizations. Mesa County is not experiencing a hospital bed surge. In fact, we are experiencing more of a financial crisis. Please spend funds wisely; duplicating efforts and overspending is not what we need during these uncertain times.  

The UCG in collaboration with the Colorado Hospital Association, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, without local input, selected WSMC as an alternative care site to be repurposed to provide medical care for COVID-19 patients who have stabilized in-hospital and no longer require critical care in our region. 

As an alternative care site, WSMC will accept up to 50 regional patients who are being transferred from hospitals and health care facilities.   

Mesa County is not opposed to making plans to increase capacity in case of a COVID-19 surge; however, we are disappointed with the massive lack of communication and coordination that has happened. Not properly notifying our community or stakeholders is unacceptable. Mesa County has been denied the opportunity to have proper planning time to mitigate and to keep our community safe and informed.  

We urge UCG to coordinate with local governments and hospitals before deciding what is best for our communities. Please instead support local hospitals and their needs before creating new facilities and processes. It is critical that coordination and funds for capacity happen at the local level. We should be part of the conversation and planning process in the best interest of our community.

Furthermore, completely ignoring the fact that counties and cities are on the front line when it comes to providing services to the citizens across the state is simply disturbing. If the state is planning to place patients from outside of our community into a local facility, the state should be financially responsible for funding personal protective equipment (PPE), medical costs, and any additional impacts to our local community and economy.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our concerns. We respectfully request to have a seat at the table when decisions are made that affect and impact the health and safety of our residents."

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