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Spanish Valley Clinic offers healthcare south of town

Spanish Valley Clinic offers healthcare south of town

The Spanish Valley Clinic has been open for over two years, with its groundbreaking in the fall of 2021. In those years, the rural clinic—operated by San Juan Health—has served the community through a holistic approach to primary preventative care.  


The clinic offers a variety of facilities, including a retail pharmacy with a drive-up window, a CT scanning machine, and 16 exam rooms, which allow the six providers and four nurses to serve the needs of the residents in the Spanish Valley and Moab area, La Sal and San Juan County. In addition, every other Tuesday, an orthopedic surgeon visits the clinic. There’s a  telehealth option for services in oncology and cardiology. Wellness exams, obstetrics care, weight loss programs, and colonoscopy screening consultations provide patients with a wide range of services. 


Jimmy Johnson, chief operating officer at San Juan Health—a special service district within San Juan County—also oversees the health services at the San Juan Hospital in Monticello and Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding. He said competition in health care helps provide better care and helps reduce costs.


“Individual choices for health care are super-critical—having the ability to really have your voice heard in different settings, different environments or training regimens,” Johnson said. 


The Spanish Valley Clinic also cooperates with other health services in the Moab Valley. For example, if a patient needs an X-ray or requires a higher level of care, they will be referred to Moab Regional Hospital; for mental health and addiction services, the clinic refers patients to Four Corners Behavioral Health and the Moab Recovery Clinic.  


Johnson said he would prefer the clinic to grow organically, and it has. Since opening, the patient population has increased, matching trends staff predicted. The clinic relies on word of mouth to reach those they can service. 


“If we can provide the level of care that people deserve, need, and want, that is the best marketing tool,” Johnson said. 


Same-day appointments and routine wellness visits are readily available. If the clinic reaches its capacity, it has the ability to expand as well, according to Johnson.  


 “If the need arises, we will research it and see if we can make it happen,” Johnson said. 


A vision for more accessible health care and planning from the San Juan Health Board five years ago made this clinic possible, along with a loan for the clinic building from Utah’s Community Impact Board, which provides grants and loans to government entities impacted by mineral lease development on federal lands. Services, federal rural hospital reimbursements, and funding from the tax base in San Juan County cover the costs of the clinic.    


The clinic may be relatively new, but San Juan Health has been around since 1947 when the rural community in Monticello came together to acquire health services. The booming uranium business had prompted predictions of an increasing population in San Juan County; as the uranium boom waned, those predictions proved incorrect. Homes meant for mine workers sat vacant. These abandoned houses were purchased from the Vanadium Corporation of America (VCA) to form the first hospital in Monticello and San Juan Health. Dances and bake sale fundraisers helped buy new equipment for the hospital, according to the San Juan Health website. Fast-forward to today: a CT scan costs around $250,000 with an annual service fee of $50,000. Solutions to these rising costs require partnerships, such as the mobile MRI that is shared between the three San Juan Health clinics. 


The clinic takes insurance and offers cash pricing for uninsured services, which Spanish Valley Health Clinic Manager Kaylyn Ballard-Mackay said patients report is very fair. They also have a charity care program for patients who qualify within income limits. A staff member in Monticello can help patients if they are denied Medicaid. 


Spanish-speaking receptionists, nurses, and pharmacy workers can translate and communicate so that Spanish-speaking patients understand their care. 


“We are very proud of what we do here,” Ballard-Mackay said.



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