1.   What is the Ouray County Regional Service Authority?

The RSA is a special district of government in Ouray County.  It was founded in 2000 with the mission of ensuring primary medical services are present in the County.  It is made up of a five-member Board of Directors, representing each of the county precincts.  These are elected positions.  The Board members receive no pay.  For information please see board member bios and “Prospective Board Member Information” on this webpage.

  1.    What does the RSA do?

The RSA owns and manages the medical FACILITY located at 295 Sherman Street, Ridgway where Mountain Medical Center currently resides.  The RSA DOES NOT manage Mountain Medical Center.  The RSA completes its mission of ensuring medical services in Ouray County by owning the building and maintaining the medical facility, including the X-Ray machine and various medical equipment.  In this way, the RSA has a “turn key” facility where a medical provider can offer services.

  1.    What is the relationship between the RSA and the medical provider?

The relationship is multi-faceted.

The RSA is the landlord and the medical provider the tenant, paying monthly rent.  See 18.01.01 Lease Agreement for more information.

The RSA contracts with the medical provider to provide medical services.  See 18.01.01 Agreement For Provision of Medical Services to view the contract between RSA and MMC.

The RSA also supports the medical provider by offering use of various medical equipment and paying for most of the costs associated with Electronic Medical Records.

It is important to note that the RSA DOES NOT PAY medical provider’s salaries nor manage the provider’s medical practice.  The medical provider maintains financial responsibility and managerial control of the practice.

  1.  What are Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and why does the RSA pay for this expense?

EMR is a cloud-based system that securely stores patient’s medical records.  This is standard practice now that paper charts are no longer used in medicine.  The RSA pays for this service so that patients’ records do not “travel” with the provider in the event that the provider changes or leaves the area.  Rather those records “stay” with the facility and are available for future medical providers.  The RSA firmly believes that accessing and maintaining medical records is foundational and thus underwrites this expense.

  1. How is the RSA funded?

The RSA is funded through a ten-year mill levy on property taxes.  In 2000 the levy was 1 mill.  During this period the RSA paid off the mortgage on the building and through careful stewardship saved significant financial reserves. In 2010 the mill levy was decreased to ¼ mill with the intention of spending down reserves.  For ten years, from 2010-2020, the RSA was depleting reserves, and even declined to receive the mill levy funding in 2018.  In 2020, even with some financial reserves remaining, the RSA recognized that this spending strategy, although prudent in the past, could not continue.  Foreseeable maintenance projects and the unforeseeable consequences of COVID needed to be considered. Ouray County voters passed a 3/8 mill levy for ten years on the November 2020 ballot. Thank you Ouray County voters for your support!

6.  Why should the RSA continue to exist?

Access to medical care is crucial to the wellbeing of a community.  For twenty years Ouray County tax payers have invested in the health of our area through the RSA.  A Colorado Health Institute survey of rural physicians shows that 51% receive an income guarantee, 35% were given relocation benefits, and educational loan repayments were offered to 13% in order to make medical services available.   In Ouray County, the minimal mill levy has been utilized to allow the purchase of a building complete with medical equipment in order to be able to offer a rental facility at a reasonable price.  This approach to an incentive is one that can be offered to any medical provider with whom the RSA contracts to provide patient services.  In a time of pandemic like today, local medical care is paramount and should not be defunded.  A long- term investment has already been made and the cost of sustainability is reasonable ($10.73 annually for a $400,000 home i.e. the cost of a pizza).  The continued existence of the RSA makes Ouray County a stronger and healthier community.