Our Local Healthcare Access is at Risk

The Telluride Regional Medical Center (TMC) provides critical full-spectrum primary care, behavioral health services, and the region’s only 24-hour emergency and trauma department. However, years of rising costs, declining insurance reimbursements, and increasing wages has led to a $1.4 million loss – a trend that is expected to continue.

Rising Operating Costs

There are many external factors leading to this unsustainable financial situation. Since the pandemic, the cost of life-saving medications is up significantly and it’s harder to find high-quality staff. Here are the day-to-day challenges TMC faces:

Increase in Drug Costs Staffing Challenges Reimbursements

A life-saving drug used to treat severe allergic reactions has increased by 455% since 2019.

A blood-thinning medication used to treat some types of heart attacks went from $4,995/dose to over $7,000/dose.

According to a recent wage survey, 30% of TMC staff are paid below the mid-range for their positions.

As the cost of living continues to rise, TMC needs to be able to pay competitive wages to attract and retain qualified medical professionals. 

TMC is not classified as a hospital, so it does not get reimbursed for many of the supplies or medications it must keep on hand.

Medicare reimbursement covers less than 30% of the cost for patients 65 and over, forcing TMC to cover the remaining balance. 

Options for a Sustainable Future

The community may have an opportunity to increase property taxes to stabilize the budget.

Raising the mill levy by 3.25 for all property owners would provide an estimated $4 million annually for addressing the immediate shortfalls, stabilizing the budget, and broadening TMC’s mission of providing high-quality care to the community. The average homeowner of a $1 million home would see an increase of $18 per month.

The Board of Directors brought the mill levy down from 4.25 to 3.25 after receiving updated data from the San Miguel County Assessor’s Office at the end of August.

What’s at Stake

If TMC cannot close the funding gap, hard financial decisions will need to be made, which could impact local access to healthcare. We’re exploring many options, but these decisions may include:

  • Reducing primary care to only 2 or 3 providers during the week, leading to longer appointment wait times.
  • Reducing and/or eliminating resources in our Emergency Department
  • Limiting the number of Medicare (65+) patients accepted.
  • Decreasing the number of nurses working at a given time, affecting the efficiency of patient care.


Upcoming Presentations:

  • San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners
  • San Miguel County Intergovernmental Meeting
  • Telluride Association of Realtors
  • Telluride Medical Center Foundation – Bandaids & Barbeque
  • Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association
  • Telluride Regional Medical Center Community Forum
  • Telluride Rotary Club
  • Town of Mountain Village Town Council

Latest News

Telluride Medical Center faces financial shortfalls (3 minute mark)
KOTO Community Radio, August 7, 2023

School district and medical center consider mill levies for November ballot
Telluride Daily Planet, July 27, 2023

Medical Center faces decreasing reimbursements, rising costs, turnover
Telluride Daily Planet, July 26, 2023

Colorado hospitals struggle amid growing costs of labor and supplies, on eve of mega network severing ties
The Gazette, July 24, 2023

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