South Routt Medical Center continues to enhance services
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One year ago, the staff at South Routt Medical Center converted a previous office space with an exterior entrance into a new exam room to help reduce patient contact with others.
That change was just one step the center staff took in order to stay open and serve patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, part of an overall goal to continue to enhance and expand medical services for the South Routt County community, said Ken Rogers, district manager for the South Routt Health Service District.
In March, Rogers announced the addition of a second family medicine physician, Dr. Barbara Novotny, who joined the medical center staff in part to provide enhanced coverage for women’s health and pediatric care.
“I am so excited to have the opportunity and privilege of caring for the South Routt community,” Novotny said in a media release. “I love caring for families, from the little newborns to the great-grandparents, from head to toe, and know that mental health is just as important as physical health.”
A 2008 graduate of Penn State College of Medicine, Novotny has spent her medical career concentrated in rural areas working in Alaska and New Mexico before practicing the past six years in Steamboat Springs. Since June 2018, she specialized in concierge care for Steamboat Springs Family Medicine.
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“Having worked as a women’s health director at a community health center in New Mexico, I learned that helping women take control of their health and keeping them well has a huge impact on the health of their entire family,” Novotny noted.
Novotny’s philosophy of comprehensive care aligns with that of South Routt Medical Center, where patients are scheduled for longer 30-minute provider visits, and the center promotes “comprehensive health care in a slower-paced atmosphere focusing on the needs of the patient,” Rogers said.
“It’s our philosophy that we want to focus on patient care and the needs of the patient, and we don’t feel we can do that in 15-minute time slots,” he noted.
Novotny, who lives in South Routt with her husband and two young children, joins the existing medical team of Dr. Dan Smilkstein, a family medicine specialist who has served at the center from 1993 to 2005 and from 2012 to present; Linda Casner, certified family nurse practitioner at the center since 2010; and Jennifer Schmitt, licensed physician assistant.
“South Routt is incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Novotny join our health care team,” Smilkstein noted in a media release. “Her passion and commitment to small town, rural medicine is exceptional and will bring new and expanded services and care options to the community.”
Rogers said the medical center’s client base through February 2020 increased gradually by an average of 10% per year, starting from spring 2014, when major renovations and an expansion were completed. He said three factors contributing to that client increase include population growth in south Routt County, increased community confidence in the center as a comprehensive health care location and greater patient access to health care due to the Affordable Care Act. The center draws patients largely from South Routt but also from across all of Routt County and some from Grand and Moffat counties, Rogers said.
Located on Highway 131 near downtown Oak Creek, the medical center has served the community since spring 1964 and currently offers primary medical care, physicals, well woman exams, well child visits, vaccines, contraceptive care, urgent and nonurgent medical visits, dental care, physical therapy and acupuncture. The center hosts dentist Dr. Reanna Messer from Northwest Colorado Health from Monday through Thursday, and physical therapy appointments are offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through UCHealth SportsMed Clinic. The center also provides a menu of in-house blood work and lab testing as well as COVID-19 in-house rapid testing.
Since late January, the medical center has provided more than 2,000 vaccine doses for COVID-19 through weekly vaccine clinics, Rogers said. The center accepts all insurance plans as well as Medicaid and Medicare and receives some financial support through property taxes collected from a special district that was approved by voters in May 2006 and matches the boundaries of the South Routt School District.
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Routt County’s COVID-19 incidence rate is increasing exponentially and is now among the top three in Colorado behind only Moffat and Kit Carson counties.