The new urgent care and primary care facility at La Paz Regional Hospital was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 4. The dedication marked the completion of a project that had been in the works for three years. It meets the hospital’s needs for urgent care to have a facility outside the emergency room, and it also places primary care on the hospital campus.
Delivering the invocation and making opening remarks was Pastor Julian Barbara of Calvary Christian Fellowship. He is also the Vice Chairman of the LPRH Board. He praised the efforts of former LPRH CEO Vickie Clark and current CEO Kevin Brown for their efforts at improving the hospital in recent years.
Barbara also praised those responsible for getting LPRH designated as a critical access facility. He said this designation had been sought for some time, but there was a problem: Parker Indian Hospital had a critical access designation, and, by federal law, two facilities with this designation cannot be within 35 miles of each other.
“It all came down to black letter law,” Barbara said.
Barbara said the community came together to push for LPRH to receive this designation. Colorado River Indian Tribes' Health Director Daniel Barbara worked to get the Tribes on board. After years of effort, a Federal judge ruled LPRH could be designated a critical access facility.
“If someone asks you what Parker can do, you can tell them we got a judge to change ‘black letter law,’” Barbara said.
The critical access designation is designed for rural hospitals, Barbara said. It affects their billing and how they are reimbursed.
“We couldn’t have had urgent care without it,” he said.
Attendees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony had praise for the new facility.
“This is a great addition to our community,” Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Director Mary Hamilton said. “Having primary care here will improve continuity in treatment. People will be happy.”
“It’s a great day for the county,” La Paz County District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor said. “I respect the tenacity of Vickie and Kevin and the staff. They really worked hard on this.”
Penny Pew of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s office said Gosar’s office supports rural health care 100 percent. She said this will be fine addition to the Parker community.
Clark had praise for her successor, Brown.
“He’s done a fabulous job,” she said.
Brown said the facility will reduce the time patients have to wait for urgent care, which is currently handled in the emergency room. The new facility will free up space in the emergency room and allow them to better treat their patients.
The facility was the capstone of the hospital district’s three-year capital plan, Brown said. He said they had wanted to move urgent care out of the emergency room so patients needing urgent care would not have to wait so long to be seen. When planning the building, Brown said he and the hospital board decided it should host primary care as well.
Ground was broken for the new facility on May 1, 2019. The architects were Thompson Design Architects. The facility was built by Pilkington Builders. It cost about $2.7 million, which came out of the district’s capital funds. The total cost included the building, equipment, furnishings, landscaping and the parking lot.