Delta County Hospital Partners with North Fork Clinics

Delta County Memorial Hospital is partnering with the North Fork Clinics in Hotchkiss and Paonia to provide additional primary care providers to meet the medical needs of North Fork families, announced hospital CEO Jason Cleckler.

Two of the family physicians that North Fork residents know well will continue at the North Fork Clinics. Tim Meilner, MD and Michelle Hundley, MD, both family practice doctors, will continue to offer medical care in a more streamlined and efficient medical clinic model designed and operated by DCMH.

"We are working hard to avoid long wait times for appointments so that North Fork residents may access medical care in a timely manner." Some specialty physicians such as Obstetrics and Gynecology physicians currently practicing in Delta will rotate to the North Fork", said the hospital CEO.

In a time of challenging health care changes, keeping rural primary care physicians is a vital part of offering medical care to all Delta County residents, including families in the North Fork By working cooperatively with the existing clinics, DCMH will employ additional physicians and mid-level practitioners such as Physician Assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to help fill the gap left by other providers who have left the area in the past few years.

With this country already facing a shortage of family physicians, rural areas are especially hard pressed to recruit and retain primary care providers to serve local families. Affordable Care Act impacts are already being felt with higher numbers of Medicaid participants who also need medical services. Along with many other transformations in health care including electronic medical records being mandated and a change in medical codes to an even more complicated model, independent primary care clinics are having increasing difficulty in remaining in business as independent practices.

"We are planning ahead to assure North Fork families and all Delta County families continue to have access to quality health care," CEO Cleckler commented. "We are proactively instituting a plan now so that Delta County families will continue to have family doctors well into the future as more health care changes come with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, explained the hospital CEO.

This community, non-profit hospital has served Delta County families for the past 100 years by providing high quality medical care. "It is a proud heritage that Delta County Memorial Hospital takes very seriously and that is why we are committed to serving our county residents in the years to come, commented Clecker. DCMH's vision statement is to be the vital force driving ongoing improvement of our community's health and well being. The mission of our hospital is to be the people's first choice for accessible, high quality health care and enhance the well being of those we serve. "These are the primary reasons that we are taking positive steps now to keep family physicians and recruit new ones to our rural area. " added the hospital CEO.

Currently DCMH owns and operates seven medical clinics including: Internal Medicine Associates, DCMH Primary Care (formerly Delta Pediatrics), Premier Women's Healthcare of Delta, Grand Mesa Oncology Center and Grand Mesa Rheumatology, and Delta-Montrose Home Health Services.