Buena Vista Physician, Dr. Gina Carr, New Lake City Med Center Director

Medical center staff and health service district board directors are breathing a sigh of relief this week with confirmation that Buena Vista, Colorado, physician Dr. Gina Carr has agreed to serve as medical director at Lake City Area Medical Center.
Health service directors Jerry Johnson, Becky Campbell, Janel Warren, and Mike Schell were visibly relieved, and a whoop went up from the audience — Nancy Zeller providing an enthusiastic “Yayyy!” — following unanimous board approval for Dr. Carr to be hired.
The written agreement, which was approved at Lake Fork Health Service District’s meeting Monday morning, January 15, clears the way for Dr. Carr to serve as remote part-time medical director at the medical center from January 16 to May 31, 2018, by which time she will be a full-time Lake City resident and a new contract as full-time medical center director will commence, effective June 1.
As remote medical director, Dr. Carr will be available by telephone to Lake City’s medical center staff, including supervision of PA Bob Downs, and will schedule trips to Lake City every two weeks.
In a letter from the health board to Dr. Carr dated January 10, it is stated “other than matters that require your independent exercise of medical judgement and decision-making, you will report to and take direction from the LFHSD (Lake Fork Health Service District) Board of Directors.”
Remuneration for Dr. Carr during this part-time, interim period of $2,500 for the remainder of January and $5,000 per month for the ensuing four months until June 1. She will not incur benefits such as sick leave or health benefits until she becomes a full-time employee of the district.
Dr. Carr was among five applicants for the medical director post, three of whom were interviewed in Lake City. Responsibility for recruiting a medical director replacement was assigned to a specially-appointed search committee comprised of Becky Campbell, Nancy Zeller, Danielle Worthen, Dr. Beuford Durmon, Dr. Clyde Rutherford, and Jessica Whiddon, with assistance from Jamie Scroggins and Barbara Hoaglin.
The search committee was appointed last August and met on a regular basis through late December last year when a formal recommendation was made to the health board.
A second motion unanimously passed by the health district board on Monday morning was resignation and termination of employment of the medical center’s present director, Dr. Beuford Durmon, as a well as a tandem employment agreement in which Dr. Durmon agrees to continue as the local clinic’s lab director on an interim basis.
Dr. Carr is in process of obtaining her laboratory credentials and is expected to relieve Dr. Durmon of that responsibility by June.
Following his resignation from the local medical center August 1 last year, Dr. Durmon agreed to continue in an interim capacity from August 1 until the agreement was formally terminated on January 15, 2018.
Health board directors spoke in glowing terms of the outgoing Dr. Durmon, health board vice chair Janel Warren noting that Dr. Durmon “really likes” his replacement, board member Becky Campbell characterizing Dr. Carr as a “perfect fit.”
Although now formally separated from the Lake City clinic, Dr. Durmon will assist Dr. Carr and clinic staff Physician Assistant Bob Downs and Family Nurse Practitioner Sherry Huisman during the change over.
“I’m personally happy that all four providers will be working together during the transition,” said Janel Warren, “that’s a comfort to the community.”
Dr. Durmon, who now resides in South Fork, Colorado, was named Supervising Physician at Lake City Area Medical Center on September 21, 2004. Prior to Lake City, he had conducted a South Fork medical practice since 1996.
Durmon was joined at the Lake City clinic by his wife, Gudrun, who worked as sonographer and x-ray technician, the couple continuing work at the clinic through mid-summer last year.
Dr. Durmon continued at the clinic in a supervisory position, also assisting on the search committee to find a replacement, under terms of an agreement which continued until his resignation was accepted earlier this week.
The Durmons were named Lake City Citizens of the Year in April, 2010. SILVER WORLD plans a sit-down interview with the Durmons in coming days to review highlights of their 13-year medical careers in Lake City.
Dr. Carr planned to be in Lake City on Wednesday, January 17, to review patient charts with clinic staff and make initial introductions.
She and her husband, Brian, a public school educator, are residents of Buena Vista in the Arkansas Valley above Salida. Dr. Carr is a Colorado native who received both undergraduate and medical school degrees from University of Colorado.
In her Buena Vista office, she serves as solo primary care provider, working closely with Chaffee County Public Health Dept. and visiting specialists.
She currently serves as vice president on the board of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians.
Monday morning Lake Fork Health Service District board meeting convened at 8 a.m. without the presence of its board chairperson, Shawna Shidler, who is out of town, but was attended by the board’s other four members, Johnson, Schell, Warren, and Campbell.
A 20-minute meeting followed an hour-long workshop. During the brief board meeting, the Carr and Durmon agreements were approved, as well as minor administrative housekeeping, including naming Jessica Whiddon as election official for the upcoming health district board election, and restating board workshops and regular meetings for the ensuing year at 8 a.m – 8:30 a.m. on the third Monday of each month.
In a recap of patient numbers for the medical center, Jessica Whiddon reported cumulative patient counts at the medical center for the year 2017 January through December were 4,292, compared to 4,447 for the prior year, a decrease of 185. December, 2017 patient counts at the clinic were 244, compared to 237 for the same month in 2016, comprised of five patients who were seen by Dr. Durmon, 108 for PA Downs, and 131 seen by FNP Huisman.
Lake City dental clinic had patient volume for the year totaling 797, an increase of 108 over 688 dental patients in 2016.
During the health board’s hour-long workshop on Friday morning, discussion items continued for later meeting agendae include the possibility of a two percent medical billing fee increase, as well as a possible increase in the clinic’s charge for medications.
Board members discussed the potential for implementing drug testing for clinic employees. PA Downs stated he had reviewed similar policies at other rural health clinics in the region, noting that the medical facility in Rio Grande County has the “toughest policy” he has ever seen, including no allowance for marijuana use.
In terms of staff accountability, daily time records with specific start and end times for all employees, plus mandatory hour-long lunch break, will be implemented. Current clinic policy cites employee review for lack of punctuality ranging from tardiness in arriving for work or, in more extreme cases, lengthier, unscheduled absences.
Board members generally felt that allowing up to 10 “occurrences” was excessive, several board members suggesting that that number should be lowered. Board also discussed degrees of tardiness, FNP Huisman suggesting that clinic employees arriving after the clinic is open should be clocked at “half-an-event.”