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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional February 5, 2016


3/20/2014 3:23:00 PM
County health clinics face overload

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier


The demand for basic health care services from the Yavapai County government is on the rise because of population increases and other factors.

Yavapai County Community Health Services Director Stephen Tullos talked Monday with the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors about growth in the demand for family doctors at county clinics. Supervisor Jack Smith asked him to make the board presentation about the department's space needs in the coming decade.

"We're over capacity, especially in Prescott Valley," Tullos elaborated after the meeting. The clinic in Prescott is at capacity and Cottonwood has a little room for more patients "We can hire more doctors, we just don't have anywhere to put them," Community Health Services Public Information Officer David McAtee added.

So new patients sometimes have to wait four to six weeks for appointments, while existing patients might wait one to two weeks. If they are ill, the clinics still try to get them in within one to two days.

The clinics recorded 50,803 patient visits last year. The PV clinic saw 39 percent of those visits.

Tullos told supervisors the three community health centers have seen an average 6.8 percent growth in patient visits over the last five years. In PV, the growth was 7.3 percent last year.

To keep up with that pace, the clinics would need to double their space over the coming decade, he said.

While the agency based that estimate on past patient visit growth, other factors such as the Affordable Care Act could make the clinics even more popular.

About 55 percent of the clinics' patients used to be uninsured patients who pay on a sliding fee scale. But since people could start getting healthcare insurance through the ACA, the percentage of uninsured patients has dropped about 5 percent.

Patients with healthcare insurance tend to visit doctors more frequently, Tullos said, so the ACA could increase patient visits. The average patient visits one of the county clinics about three times per year.

The increase in Medicaid patients because of Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to expand eligibility requirements last year also could increase patient visits. Some Medicaid patients are telling county clinic staff that they are having trouble finding family doctors in private practice.

Some people also are reporting that their doctors have started charging them annual fees, something the county clinics don't do.

The county clinic in PV leases space from the Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

The county owns four acres near the PV Town Hall where it could build more Community Health Services space. Administration staff could move there to free up room in Prescott so the county wouldn't have to add clinic space in two communities, Tullos said.

While the clinics have been successful at recruiting doctors, they spend a lot of time doing that recruiting because of the shortage of doctors in this country, especially for rural areas, Tullos said. One advantage for county government doctors is that they don't need their own malpractice insurance because the county has an umbrella policy.

Local hospitals are talking about possible residency programs for interns, and the clinics might be able to use those interns as well, he added.



Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder



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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Article comment by: Cynthia Malla

A visit to a community health clinic is much less expensive than an ED visit, which, before the Affordable Healthcare Act, was the only access to medical care for the uninsured. It was and is illegal to turn anyone away from an ED. Now that more people will have healthcare coverage, we will need an expansion of community healthcare, obviously.

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Failed Experiment

Wow what a list I surprised that halitosis and athletes foot isn't in there as well! Lets just ignore the fact that every one of the things noted in this ponderous list have multiple known origins already.

Time to pull out those tin hats folks and don't forget to line your home with tin foil as well.

This guy and the Obama guy should join forces I bet they could produce some most amusing conspiracy theories...ones fit for a hit hollywood movie.


Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Milgram Experiment

The hospitals are full of people suffering from microwave syndrome.

Here is a list of symptoms:

Dizziness, sleep troubles, concentration disturbance, sensory troubles, loss of concentration, chronic fatigue syndrome, dermatitis, dermatosis, eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergy, drastic decrease of libido, visual and hearing perturbations, nose bleeds, injured corner lips, jaw bleedings, fibromyalga, allergy, asthma, tooth neuralgia, Parkinson disease, legs without rest, loss of sensibility in 4 limbs, tighten arms at wake-up, cramps in limbs, great premature (often before or around gestation age), toxic foetopathy, miscarriage, retarded growth, biometrics, genotype modification, then puberty modification, leukemia, reduced glutathione, melanoma, breast cancer, high rate of lymphocytes (in blood), lack of concern, introversion, passiveness, submissiveness, depression, anorexia, suicide, irritability, discomfort, increased risk of accident, stress, depression, drastic decrease of libido, and drastic decrease of semen.

Welcome to the smart grid pandemic. Where microwave syndrome is now a common household illness.


Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

It's Obama care.Don't get it yet hey?



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