The residents of Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade enjoy a vast array of options to stay healthy close to home.
When Rachel Murray’s fiancé found himself working remotely due to the pandemic, the time seemed right for “a new adventure.” A newly minted physician’s assistant, she and her husband-to-be looked around for a good place to start. “We both love the outdoors and mountain biking, and we decided to try out Grand Junction,” the Houston native says.
Fortunately, the adventure panned out – the couple moved to Grand Valley from Denver in August 2020, and Murray found a PA position with Western Valley Family Practice.
“I love the mountain biking trails, the easy access to the mountains for camping and skiing, and working in a smaller town to make a positive impact in the community,” she says.
The combination of natural beauty, outdoor access and the ability to make a bigger difference in a smaller community may account in part for the exceptional diversity and depth of health care in Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade. Keep reading for a sampling of the region’s health care options:
Health Care in Grand Valley
Grand Valley is served by no fewer than four hospitals, an array of medical
and surgical specialists, and numerous clinics. Residents here enjoy
excellent health care close to home.
Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center
Colorado Canyons Hospital & Medical Center in Fruita, part of Family Health West, has been serving the community for more than 75 years.
“We got our start as a little house in town that served as a hospital,” says Dr. Korrey Klein, Family Health West president and CEO. “When the community decided it needed a bigger hospital, in 1946 local farmers and ranchers literally drove to Utah, got the bricks and wood they needed and built a hospital themselves.”
That commitment to the community continued, as the hospital evolved into a Level IV trauma center. Today, it is a modern, 25-bed acute care hospital that provides outstanding 24/7 emergency care as well as imaging and radiology, screenings, transitional care, surgical services and wellness services. Through telemedicine, the hospital helps neurological and psychological trauma patients within minutes.
Colorado Canyons is widely known for its rehab programs, with which it partners with other local hospitals. That partnership was especially important during the pandemic, as Colorado Canyons developed treatments for recovering COVID-19 patients, including those suffering “long haul” aftereffects.
St. Mary’s Medical Center
St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, the largest medical center between Denver and Salt Lake City, is part of SCL Health. Founded in 1896, the medical center is known for its birthing center. Also offered are cardiac and vascular services, emergency and trauma services, imaging, a Level IIIB neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), orthopedic and spine services, and surgical specialties.
Community Hospital in Grand Junction is a 60-bed Level II trauma center that offers outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient treatment. The hospital opened a four-story, 140,000-square-foot facility in 2016, and in 2021 opened a new cardiovascular center.
Caring For Our Veterans
Grand Valley also benefits from the VA Western Colorado
Health Care System, which serves 37,000 veterans with its 53-bed facility
in Grand Junction, in addition to clinics and telehealth services.
A unique health-care option is Appleton Clinics, a primary care practice for members who pay a monthly fee that assures them of unlimited office visits – and even house calls – to cover an impressive array of issues, from checkups, stitches and broken bones to diabetes counseling, treatment of serious chronic illness and more. Vaccines, inoculations and X-rays are included in the $99 per adult fee. And two children can be added for only $10 per month per child.
Appleton Clinics does not file insurance claims. But it does offer wholesale prices on things like drugs, CT scans and MRIs, ultrasounds, lab work and more, through partnerships with local hospitals, labs and other providers.
Appleton Clinics was the brainchild of founder and President Dr. Craig Gustafson, a proponent of the direct primary care trend that is gaining acceptance across the country. By avoiding insurance red tape and paperwork, doctors are able to spend more time with patients while at the same time keeping costs dramatically lower.
“I have found in taking care of patients that a lot of people won’t see their doctor because of high deductibles or because they have no insurance at all,” says Dr. Elvi Whiteford, a family practice physician with the clinic. “The blessing of our model is that we have some built-in time so we can invest in health care but also relationships.”