Durango Urgent Care will open and staff a new urgent care at Purgatory Resort beginning Dec. 12. Talks to open a new urgent care have been in the works since Centura Health closed its urgent care at the resort at the end of last ski season.
Centura reportedly shuttered its operation because of funding issues.
“They just didn’t have the volume they needed to keep funding it,” said Scott Sholes, EMS chief for the Durango Fire Protection District. “They crunched the numbers and decided they would discontinue that service. And once that happened it opened the door to any other interested parties that wanted to try and spin up an urgent care there.”
Back channel talks between administration at Mercy Hospital and Durango Urgent Care to open a new urgent care in the same location began shortly after the closure.
“And Durango Urgent Care made the most sense because they already have a site (in Durango), and the owner has a longtime connection up there at Purgatory,” Sholes said. “He’s a former ski patroller.”
A three-way deal was inked between Purgatory Resort, which owns the property, Centura Health which owns the building, and Durango Urgent Care which will contract services.
The urgent care will have a physician or physician assistant, a nurse, an X-ray lab and technician, and a front desk person.
“We are really pleased about this because it is as far away as we get from medical care in our district,” Sholes said. “To have this high of a level of medical care right there to help stabilize people, to help decrease the number of ambulance calls that happen from the ski area, is really helpful because it keeps our units available for more serious emergencies.”
Because the district’s northernmost Station 15 is thinly staffed, transporting someone from Purgatory to Durango affects the level of service available in that area for several hours, Sholes said.
“So this is outstanding as far as maintaining that level of service and maybe even improving it to some extent,” he said.
Silverton residents will also be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing there is once again an urgent care closer than Durango.
“That’s always been one of our concerns with that loss, too,” Sholes said. “And theirs as well.”
Durango Urgent Care CEO Bryan Vincent said the Purgatory facility will be a full-service urgent care open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Although Durango Urgent Care will fund the entire cost of operations, Vincent is not concerned about running into the same issue that led Centura Health to shut down.
“We’re just going to reach out to the community in that area, and just be there,” he said. “I think our model is a little different from the hospital. But in the past it did have volume up there, and we’re just going to try and make a go of it.”