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Vail Daily letter: Distrusts economic impact report

OK, I get it. I get that the Steadman-Philippon Institute has a really great marketing and public relations staff within their nonprofit organization. I get that they can have large articles (ads?) every few weeks printed in the Vail Daily to promote their business, sharing what work and services they provide.

As local reporters avidly researched school district expenditures, including salaries of teachers and administrators, I hope the same reporters are as interested and complete in their evaluation of town of Vail’s support of the Steadman Clinic and the Steadman-Philippon Research Foundation.

Who paid for the study cited so frequently and showing that nearly $100 million annually is brought to the community solely by these two businesses?



If any proportion of that study was subsidized by the Steadman Clinic and/or the Steadman-Philippon Foundation, does that not constitute a conflict of interests, much like a drug company financing an “independent” study on the effectiveness and safety of a drug they manufacture?

How were these numbers arrived at? What were they compared to, in particular in other medical practitioners in the area?



I am not a Vail resident and thus don’t pay Vail taxes, unless of course I’m skiing, dining or shopping in Vail. But if I was ,and I was about to give a fairly large financial endowment to a single business in the area, I would be very interested in seeing how that money is used and would want to have access to financial records of that business and that nonprofit foundation.

I imagine a business with such an “international reputation” and one that has the luxury of limiting which insurance (companies) it deals or does not deal with, expecting their clientele to pay the differences, has a small margin between billed services and collections.

Other practices in the area that accept Medicare, Medicaid and other insurances, as well as treating uninsured patients, are unable to collect at least one-third of their billings. Meeting overhead is a little more of a juggling act for these medical offices that treat all of the local residents, visiting workers, migrants and many visiting vacationers.



It is always interesting to me that when anyone questions the veracity of financial projections that ultimately enhance only a small number of residents, that they are derided, and called names (“haters, naysayers” in a recent letter to editor) in an effort to marginalize and devalue their opinion.

But I think until some of these questions are addressed, we should be very reluctant to disburse these allocations.

Maybe the Steadman-Philippon Institute could leave the private, nonprofit foundation jet parked for a few flights and use those dollars saved to fund their own new development.

Better yet, consider donating more direct dollars to all schools within this valley and support the students here in Eagle County in continued educational opportunities, especially in light of recent school district federal and local funding cuts, and really have an impact in the future.

Doreen Somers

Edwards

Editor’s note: No Steadman organizations own a private plane. Steadman funded the study, as is customary. They accept Medicare and Medicaid, and treat residents. They also contribute to the community extensively.


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