Local News

Grand Canyon Medical Clinic On Life Support

September 7, 2015

 Unless some outside funding sources can be located, the Grand Canyon Medical Clinic could be closing its doors by the end of February. Because of difficulties surrounding concessionaire contracts, the Grand Canyon National Park is now getting only 20% of that concession revenue from the federal government in order to pay back debt. It’s a loss of about $6 million a year. 

With that drop in income, there is just not enough money to cover the clinic’s monthly tab of about $53,000. “There’s just not enough money to fund the Clinic as we have in the past,” said Doug Lentz, Chief of Concessions at the Grand Canyon National Park.

The problem is not a permanent one. In five to six years, the Park will recover the lost funds. Meanwhile the Park is looking for ways to get some extra funds and reduce costs by reducing hours and trimming services.

At the September 2nd Town Council Meeting Councilman Al Montoya asked if the concessionaires had been approached for help. Lentz said they have been but so far there has been no firm commitment.

Mayor Greg Bryan also noted that, “None of the concessionaires pay a dime for the school.” And the mayor added, “Wasn’t there a provision in the contract to provide for the school as well as the clinic?”

The residents of the Park and Tusayan make up the majority of patients. 69% live in the area. There is no data on what percentage of the patients actually live in Tusayan.

Lentz said the contracts will be revisited and he says the Park will take up the issue sooner than later. Lentz says they are looking for long term and short term solutions.

Mayor Bryan would like those solutions to include concessionaires paying there share. He said, “I would have an interest as an individual if there were plans to incorporate into the new contracts  some mandated participation by the concessionaires on a couple of these topics, on both the school and the clinic before I would support shelling out more money to pick up a disproportionate share of that service.