Telluride Foundation logo


FOUNDATION LOGOCommunity input on desired healthcare and wellness vision sought

Across the country, Americans are realizing the life-long values and benefits of health and wellness. The Telluride community is no different and, as a result of its location and myriad of outdoor recreational activities, is in many ways uniquely positioned to take advantage of the coming revolution in health care.

Today there is a growing focus not just on understanding, treating, and preventing disease, but also on the things that are keeping us well. Health, health care, and wellness are fundamentally shifting toward an increased focus on awareness and prevention, technology, and improved access to treatment and facilities.
“Health care paradigms are changing,” said Davis Fansler, former Mayor of Mountain Village. “Telluride, like the nation, is at a crossroads in terms of health care. We believe this provides a unique opportunity for Telluride area residents to engage in a comprehensive wellness planning process to determine the future of health care in the greater Telluride region.”

Currently Telluride’s primary local medical service is the Telluride Medical Center (TMC), which provides 24/7 emergency and trauma services and primary care professionals. TMC is the sole provider of primary care services in the Telluride region and is the only emergency room within 65 miles. It is housed in an outdated and undersized facility, and its surging patient volumes and diverse-aged population require additional services. Over the past few years the Telluride Hospital District (THD), a special regional taxing district that owns and operates the TMC, has pursued replacing its existing facility to upgrade its care delivery and to meet current licensing standards.

Recognizing that the healthcare needs of the community are evolving and are broader than the primary and emergency care TMC currently provides, a small group of community leaders has recently stepped forward to steward a new process to define and plan for Telluride’s future health care needs. They are working to engage the public in a discussion of future needs and opportunities and identify additional medical services that could be located in the Telluride region.

This group includes the former Mayors of Telluride and Mountain Village, John Pryor and Davis Fansler; the Chairman of the Telluride Hospital District, Bill Grun; and Paul Major, President of the Telluride Foundation. Together, they have developed a collaborative decision-making process designed to engage the public to define the future needs of the community and ultimately determine what type of facility is needed to meet those needs now and into the future.
“Over the years many residents and homeowners have argued that this community could support additional medical services,” said John Pryor, former Mayor of Telluride. “The potential to locate these additional services in the same facility and/or campus as TMC could provide many advantages, including cost savings as well as an expanded selection of medical/health services available locally.”

“TMC believes that attempting to be the owner and/or developer of a medical facility that offers services beyond primary and emergency care is outside its expertise and mandate” said Bill Grun, the Chairman of the Telluride Hospital District.  “However, now is the time to thoroughly explore our future needs and wants to maximize the potential for synergy among services before TMC moves ahead with a new facility.”

If initial results for expanding medical services beyond TMC look promising, the steering group will move on to explore the issues of where to locate and how to finance a larger health and wellness facility in collaboration with TMC. This community group has developed a set of initial guiding principles:

1. Genuine and active public participation is vital to determining the community’s health and wellness needs now and into the future.

2. The current medical center’s age, location and space and licensing constraints suggest a new facility is needed to meet the burgeoning demand, changing patient needs, and variety of future health care models.

3. An opportunity exists to expand the scope of health and healthcare services offered in the Telluride region based on a suitable site and a sustainable business plan.  Additional services not presently available could be included in a facility and/or campus, providing costs savings and regional economic development.

4. Limited sites in Telluride, Mountain Village, and Society Turn are available and should be evaluated and may be suitable for the current and expanded facility needs.

5. Plans should be developed that will avoid additional district tax levies, and the facility should be financially self-sustaining.

In the next few months, the committee would like to engage regional residents in a series of community meetings to discuss the available options. These meetings will be scheduled for May, after everyone has returned from spring break.

“We’re hoping to find the answers to a few key questions,” said Paul Major, President of the Telluride Foundation. “What are the community’s needs and vision for access, affordability, quality and types of health, wellness and healthcare services? Does the community desire more opportunities for preventive and integrated care and alternative medicine? How do we fully participate in health information technology to access new services, increase positive health outcomes and lower costs? How can the community embrace values that emphasize health and wellness?  What additional medical services could be financially sustainable?  How could we minimize facility costs to attract additional medical services?”

Results of these discussions will shape the decision making process with regard to the healthcare, health and wellness services that could be offered locally, as well as potential locations and designs for future facility in the greater Telluride area.

For more information, or to join the discussion, please join the list serve at, Facebook at “Telluride Health & Wellness”, or contact the Telluride Foundation at 970-728-8717 or to be added to the email distribution list.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.