Pagosa Medical Center Open House Highlights New Cancer Center

To highlight ten years of service, the Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) hosted a community open house on Thursday, January 18. The event was an opportunity for the public to meet local physicians, see advancements in rural healthcare services, and to hear about the soon to open Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

The open house included remarks from PSMC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rhonda Webb and Medical Director of Oncology, Dr. Bill Jordan.

Dr. Rhonda Webb starting by welcoming community members to the event and then spoke briefly about her background prior to moving to Pagosa. She also thanked board members from the past and present before introducing Dr. Jordan the Medical Director of Oncology at PSMC.

Dr. Jordan emphasized the significance the new Cancer Center will have on Pagosa Springs and relayed that when a rural hospital starts a new oncology program, there is an immediate impact to the people in the rural community; that impact is access to care.

Dr. Jordan continued to talk about the miserable statistics when it comes to receiving quality rural cancer care: “When we look at what happens in rural America today, we know that 20% of the people in this country live in rural areas. We know that 10% of the doctors practice in rural areas. We know that only 3% of the oncologists practice in rural areas, and we know that 70% of all counties in the United States have no direct access to cancer care. So having a full-time cancer program in a rural area is really quite unique.”

Dr. Jordan also talked about his background of providing cancer care for the community where he and his wife grew up near Ft. Worth, TX. After his service with one of the most preeminent cancer centers in the world, MD Anderson, Dr. Jordan spent three and a half decades opening ten cancer care centers, five of which are in rural areas.

In addition to remarks from Dr. Rhonda Webb and Dr. Jordan; visitors were invited to take self-guided tours of the medical center. In the PSMC Clinic, community members had the opportunity to meet physicians and specialists. There were also photos showing the changes to the medical center over the years.

A highlight for many of the attendees was the chance to see the PSMC Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and Operating Room (OR). An opportunity that almost did not happen due to an a late afternoon emergency case.

“We have a dedicated PSMC Surgery Team that puts our patients and their safety first. The team pulled together to perform an emergency procedure in the afternoon, just before time to prep for the open house.” PSMC Director of Surgical Services, Beth Felty said, “Our staff worked hard to ensure everything was ready for the open house. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to pull it off or not. Thankfully we were able to serve both our patient and our community, as the tours proceeded as planned.”

Physicians and the surgical team gladly answered questions from curious visitors while they showed equipment used for procedures and surgeries. On display was the GI Endoscopy Tower used during gastrointestinal procedures, Laparoscopic and Arthroscopic equipment, instruments used for total knee joint replacements, and information about Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist administered pain management. Many who toured were previous patients, they enjoyed seeing the surgical team as well as the PACU, OR, and the equipment in a manner they are not typically able to do so.

Rosie, PSMC’s Stroke Telemedicine machine used to connect patients to top stroke physicians, was on display and visitors partook in real-time demonstrations. The Diagnostic Imaging department spoke about the PSMC MRI, Mammography Suite, CT Scanner, and new Echocardiogram machine.

The Open House was well attended with approximately 200 people crowding into the lobby to meet PSMC’s new CEO. Appetizers were prepared by the PSMC Fresh Cafe and were served by volunteers from the Pagosa Peaks Volleyball Club.

For more information visit pagosamed.com.

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Jesse Hensle

Jesse Hensle is Marketing and Communications Manager for the Pagosa Springs Medical Center.