Historic Groundbreaking for the New Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding, Utah Signals New Era of Healthcare for Rural Community
BLANDING, Utah — Blue Mountain Hospital, a historic collaboration between a Native American Tribe, a Tribal Organization, and private enterprise, hosted a ground breaking ceremony on October 16, 2006. The monumental partnership between Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Utah Navajo Health Systems and Razaghi Development Company, et al is the first of its kind to provide healthcare services to the diverse population of Four Corners region, which includes Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Blue Mountain Hospital was incorporated in December 2002 to develop, build and operate the 11-bed acute care facility.
“Our mission is to elevate the quality of healthcare for the communities of San Juan County and Four Corners Area,” said Ahmad Razaghi, Chairman and President of Blue Mountain Hospital. “This has been a dream of many of the local residents for over two decades. We have been successful because our project truly reflects the extraordinary diverse cultural needs of this region.”
“Blue Mountain Hospital is a thought and a vision for Native American people. It is a humble way for the Ute and Navajo tribes to come together for the health and welfare of our people,” said Elayne Atcitty, vice chair of Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and White Mesa Council Representative.
“We have worked diligently during the past several years to determine how best to provide patient care that is of the highest quality, while at the same time taking into account the local culture and the specific needs of the region,” said Manuel Morgan, Chairman of Utah Navajo Health System and San Juan County Commissioner. “We have learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to bring a project like Blue Mountain Hospital to fruition. The knowledge we gained through this process will serve as the template for us to bring quality healthcare to the residents of other under-served rural communities.”
Blue Mountain Hospital is designed with the latest medical technology to provide primary and acute care services. The facility will have an operating suite containing two operating rooms, emergency department, three labor delivery rooms, state-of-the-art diagnostic center, renal dialysis, clinics, pharmacy, and physical therapy. The unique design of the facility enables future expansion plans to be implemented without compromising medical service.
The financial partners for the project are US Bank, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, USDA Rural Development, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Utah Navajo Health Systems, Recapture Metals Inc., which donated the land, and Razaghi Development Company, which provided the professional team and technical expertise to develop and implement the strategic plan for this project.
The Utah State Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., Ute Mountain Ute chairman Manuel Heart and Council, the Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley and Vice President Frank Dayish Jr., San Juan County Commission, Blanding City, Utah Congressman Jim Matheson, and Utah Tribal Leaders council have also provided strong political support for Blue Mountain Hospital.
Utah Navajo Health Systems is a not-for-profit 501C (3) corporation, which operates a system of primary health centers in Southern San Juan County and services over 10,000 residents. Utah Navajo Health Systems has an all Navajo board and is the first tribal organization to secure a federal government contract to provide healthcare services on the Navajo Nation.
“The planning and organizing of this project has created a partnership and spirit of cooperation of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation and the Caucasian residents of this county, which has not been achieved by any other endeavor at any time in our history. This has been possible because of the recognition that there is a valid need for improved healthcare coverage,” stated General (Ret.) Lynn Stevens, Chairman of San Juan County Commission in a written statement in support of Blue Mountain Hospital.
The planned services offered by the new hospital will provide the much needed access to acute care to the local residents, 60% of whom have to travel as far as 150 miles to receive basic medical services such as emergency care. Additional services such as renal dialysis and diabetes treatment offered at the new hospital will provide essential treatment to nearly 50% of surrounding population. “Currently, residents of White Mesa located in Southern Utah must travel over 80 miles in any direction to receive the services that will be offered by this new hospital,” said Elayne Atcitty.
“Blue Mountain Hospital was conceived out of the need to provide healthcare to the residents of the local communities, who have had to undergo significant hardship to receive essential medical care or simply do without,” commented Donna Singer, chief executive officer of Utah Navajo Health Systems. “It is exciting to be involved with this extraordinary collaborative effort in which the Indian people are leading the effort to bring medical services to all local residents.”
Blue Mountain Hospital will also have a Native American Traditional Medicine Center, which will integrate modern and traditional medicine. This center was designed with collaborative input from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Navajo Tribe Chapters in the Utah strip.