Dr. Selena Sekulic [Photo courtesy of MRH]

Traveling for medical care may not be necessary with the arrival of new doctors at Moab Regional Hospital (MRH).

MRH is expanding patient access to medical services with the addition of several visiting specialists and a new full-time primary care physician, Dr. Whitney Mack, said Moab Regional Hospital CEO Jennifer Sadoff.

“I’ve lived in Moab for 18 years, and watched as friends and loved ones have had to seek care outside of the community,” Sadoff said. “I feel personally grateful to the physicians who come here and expand access of care in our community.”

Moab’s residents are known to travel to cities like Grand Junction or Salt Lake City to receive treatment for health concerns that require a specialist, such as a cardiologist.

The new visiting specialists at MRH include doctors in dermatology, gynecology, orthopedics, and urology, who join existing specialists in cardiology, neurology, podiatry, orthopedics, oncology and plastic surgery.

Mack’s family practice is expected to open in October, said Laurie Peter, the hospital’s director of marketing. Peter said that some primary care doctors are unable to take new patients at this time, and said Mack will help to meet the community’s needs.

Mack recently completed her fellowship in Women’s Health and Obstetrics at the University of Illinois.

Mack “will be very well received in the community” for her ability to offer obstetrics, Peter said.

“I have always wanted to become part of a community where I can contribute to improving the health of babies, children and adults using my training in full spectrum family medicine,” Mack said. “I am drawn to Moab’s active, adventurous and friendly community and I am excited to join the excellent team providing medical care now.” 

Peter said the visiting specialists are scheduled based upon physician availability and patient need.

Traveling outside of the community to receive medical care adds “a barrier to treatment,” Peter said.

Travel costs, such as lodging and fuel, are not generally covered by insurance. It also can mean having to take time off work, finding and paying for child care, and other logistical and financial challenges. That can translate into extra stress, especially for a person already dealing with a health condition.

Peter said visiting orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Lawton specializes in sports medicine. He practices at the Orthopedic Specialists of Durango, and comes to Moab twice each month for consultations and surgeries.  

“There are a number of voices who determine the specialists that we recruit,” Sadoff said. “People identify which specialties they would like to see in the community during the Community Health Needs Assessment.”

The hospital is required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years and works with the National Rural Health Resource Center to complete the assessment. The most recent assessment was completed in 2016 through focus groups, data collection and a survey.

“There are other specialists that we would like to see visit MRH, however, we are running out of clinic space at this time,” Sadoff said. “We anticipate that we will need to do a clinic expansion in order to be able to accommodate additional providers.”

Sadoff said the hospital pays attention to requests from the community, physicians reporting high referral rates and data regarding health trends.

“For example,” Sadoff said, “Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the United States. In an area with many working in outdoor recreation, it was important to us to recruit dermatology.”

The hospital welcomes dermatologists Dr. Christopher Hull, Dr. Anneli Bowen and Dr. Glen Bowen, who will all be alternating visits to MRH from the University of Utah.

Peter said the hospital is thrilled to have regular visits from podiatrist Dr. Selena Sekulic.

She said that patients do not need a referral to make an appointment with a specialist.  However, insurance companies may require referrals in order to cover visits with a specialist.

For patients or potential patients who have questions regarding insurance coverage or financial assistance, Peter said that the business office can answer questions over the phone by calling 435-719-3542.

For more information about the hospital, visiting physicians and the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment, call 435-719-3500 or visit mrhmoab.org.

Access to local care jumps up with hospital’s addition of a full-time primary care doc, as well as more visiting specialists

“I have always wanted to become part of a community where I can contribute to improving the health of babies, children and adults using my training in full spectrum family medicine.”