Fri Dec 4th, 2020
Dr. Keller | Southern Ute Health Center
I am not an optimist by nature. Most doctors aren’t. But it’s a healthy exercise to intentionally recognize the good things in our lives, and we intend to formalize that process by giving you an update from the Southern Ute Health Center every month for the next year.
We are fully staffed with permanent providers. It has now been about a year since we last contracted with a “locum”, or temporary, provider. This is the first time in 15 years this has happened! The provider you see isn’t here for a month or two to fill in, but rather is employed by the Tribe with no plans to go anywhere. Being fully staffed with permanent primary care providers is uncommon for a health center and it’s something that has been shown to significantly improve the health of a community.
Our Behavioral Health department is expanding, dramatically; COVID-19 has undoubtedly worsened anxiety and depression along with most other mental health concerns. But even before COVID-19 came along, most areas in the country were severely underserved from a mental health standpoint. Over the past year, Mary Young and her crew have been steadily working to more than double their capacity, a massive undertaking and one likely to hugely benefit the community. Expect to hear more soon as they continue to add staff and finalize work on their new facility.
A vaccine is on the way; I’m sure most of you are saturated with news about COVID-19. You’ve probably heard about an effective vaccine hopefully arriving by Christmas. It’s easy to overlook how impressive this is. Many vaccines have come along since the first one was developed in 1796 (against smallpox). Most of them have taken years, and sometimes decades, to develop. While things are not finalized and work is still to be done, the fact that we are this close to a solution in this short of a time period is truly remarkable.
That’s all the optimism I have for now. Happy Holidays, stay safe, and expect more to come soon.