A Full Service Medical Center for Your Health Care Maintenance & Acute Care Needs

What's new at Mountain Medical Center?  


Mountain Medical Center's Patient Portal is now up and running!

  • Have you ever wanted to check your lab results in a private portal accessible only by you?*
  • Have you ever wanted to send your provider's office a secure online message?
  • Have you ever wanted to request a medication refill online?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then check out our new secure patient portal! You can click here to request the connection & set up your account today.

Once you have connected, you have the option of watching a short 3 minute video that will walk you through the website to familiarize you with the portal. It is very user friendly - we hope you will love this new way of contating us!


If you have any issues requesting the connection, please call our office and ask for Josey, and she can help get you registered.

*Your patient portal is private to you and you alone. Information contained within is NOT accessible by your insurance company, your employer, other doctors, your family members - ANYONE - without your consent. 


Have you been feeling stressed? Do you just need a minute to yourself to take a breath?

Join us for Guided Imagery and Hot Tea next Monday, March 18 at 6pm in the front office at Mountain Medical Center. Check out this flyer to learn more!



February is American Heart Month, so here at Mountain Medical Center, our staff will wear RED every Friday in February for Heart Health Awareness!


We have also kicked off the month by sharing ideas of how to take small steps towards a healthier heart. Here is the first poster, featuring our very own Delight!



Watch Newspapers - "New Health Care Provider in Ridgway Focuses on Wellness"

by Peter Shelton

Mississippi Native Is Living a Dream

RIDGWAY – Sarah Lauderdale, the new certified  family nurse practitioner at Mountain Medical Center, suggested we conduct our  interview outside. “I’d love to get out in the sunshine on my break,” she said.  So, we walked the river trail through the park, past the railroad trestle, and  back to the office on Sherman Street.

Lauderdale is 29, tall and willowy, with delight infusing her  speech and outlook. In a soft Mississippi accent she said, “I drive over Dallas  Divide [she lives in Telluride with a childhood friend] every day and I think,  look at this beautiful country! It’s almost too perfect – something bad is going  to happen.” That last is a nervous cliché; as soon as the words escaped, her  laughter banished the thought.

It is true that the sequence of events leading to her hiring at  MMC seems almost preordained. “I finished up my internship [for her nursing  masters at Vanderbilt University] in August, I took the boards in October, and I  was hired at Mountain Medical in November.”

The Ridgway clinic appears to be a perfect fit. And they needed  her. Health care providers in the community had moved on, in more ways than one.  Longtime local integrative medicine doc Patty Ammon died unexpectedly in August.  Her widower, Dale Yocum, a nurse practitioner at MMC, needed a change and now  works in Montrose. Then late last year, 16-year MMC veteran Dr. Dave Sherwood  decided he was ready to open a one-man practice on his own.

In a time of transition, Lauderdale feels ready to step in,  especially in the areas she is most passionate about: preventative medicine,  wellness and the health of the whole human being.

As a nurse practitioner, Lauderdale has the same “prescriptive and  examination privileges” as a physician, and she will of course be dealing with  all of her patients’ health issues. But, she said excitedly, “I’m working on  starting a wellness program, one that will design individual health programs,  for women, primarily,” who are, she noted, seem most at ease with a woman  provider in the exam room. “The program will be for people who want to manage  their weight, quit smoking, exercise more. Lots of people want to change, get  healthier, and they don’t want to just take a pill. This will be a 12-month  program – you’re not going to change behavior in three weeks – and there will be  the support of other people with the same goals.”

Lauderdale veered toward holistic, healthy medicine after six  years as an ICU nurse in the heart and lung transplant unit at the University of  Alabama Birmingham, where she got her B.S. “It was horrible, frankly.” Seeing  people at the narrow, and very expensive, edge of the health care system. “I was  inspired to practice health maintenance.

“Nursing is founded on the theory of holism,” she wrote in an  introductory letter, “[caring for] the whole individual, including the  connection between the physical body, emotion, spirituality, social/cultural  context, and environment.” She wanted to influence people, of all ages, before they became ill.

But before returning to grad school at Vanderbilt, Lauderdale  visited a friend with an arts internship at the Ah Haa School in Telluride. She  had relatives in Denver, but had not explored this part of the state. It was  love at first sight. “I made the decision to immerse myself in an environment  where I am happiest and healthiest. So far for me, that has been this beautiful  corner of southwestern Colorado.”

Lauderdale took temporary jobs with Telski (working in the  child-care nursery) and as a volunteer with the Telluride Film Festival, and  lived a kind of double life, splitting her time between nursing school and the  Western Slope. Then, when she was ready to commit permanently to the area, the  job at Mountain Medical opened up. “I feel extremely fortunate to now be part of  the team providing healthcare to the people of Ridgway.”

Some days, she said, on her commute over Dallas Divide, “I feel as  though my vehicle floats into town like a gigantic snowflake just as the day’s  activities begin in Ridgway...I am satisfied with this beautiful dream. Please  do not pinch me.”


Ouray County Plaindealer - "Mountain Medical’s FNP-C finds home in the San Juans"  

by Mary Pat Haddock
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Sarah Lauderdale’s first trip outside of her hometown, which she lovingly refers to as “Small Town, Miss.,” was to visit her best friend who had moved out West to live in Telluride. Lauderdale decided during that first visit she wanted to live in the San Juans. She also knew she wanted to complete her education to become a registered nurse (RN) and then a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-C).  After another visit, Lauderdale established a dual life, sharing time between Vanderbilt—where she was enrolled in their Master’s nursing program while working in a heart and lung transplant intensive care unit—and Telluride, where she worked part-time for Telski and did other odd jobs to maintain her mountain life. This past November offered Lauderdale an opportunity to end her cross-continent travel and settle into life in the San Juans as Mountain Medical Center’s new FNP-C. Lauderdale jumped at the chance and now describes herself as being “completely enthralled” by the “beautiful environment” surrounding her, in addition to greatly enjoying her new position at Mountain Medical. Lauderdale plans to work with the Mountain Medical team to “utilize technology in order to create individualized care plans, track and evaluate measurable outcomes, and communicate more efficiently.” She hopes to bring attention to behavior change, weight management and smoking cessation within the community. Lauderdale reports being “eager to address the healthcare needs of the children and adolescent population in the community.” She hopes to empower youth to make healthy choices and in turn, minimize their health risks. Certified family nurse practitioners have full prescriptive privileges and have completed a Master’s degree in nursing in addition to passing a national accreditation exam. Lauderdale’s philosophy as an FNP-C varies somewhat from a medical doctor (MD). Lauderdale states, “The main difference between nursing practice and medicine is their underlying theories. The two have become more similar throughout the years, but traditionally medicine was for treatment of disease, while nursing focuses on the individual in their context and all the pieces of an individual. You can’t separate illness from a patient’s environment; you have to consider the whole picture to treat them effectively, and that holistic theory is the foundational difference.” Lauderdale went on to say, “Holistic care focuses on the whole individual including the connection between the physical body, emotion, spirituality, social/cultural context and environment.” Lauderdale says Ridgway reminds her of her small hometown, which puts her at ease. She also acknowledged she was initially nervous there would be no one to treat in Ridgway because “everyone is so fit and healthy.” Lauderdale now reports enjoying the diversity of her patients and their needs. To schedule an appointment with Lauderdale, call Mountain Medical at 626-5123.


Sarah-framed.jpgAnnouncing MMC's newest practitioner, SARAH LAUDERDALE:  F.N.P - C

We wish to extend our Ridgway Welcome to Sarah Lauderdale, F.N.P.-C  who recently joined the Mountain Medical Center practice.  We are excited about the potential her presence presents in caring for the medical needs of our community.   Sarah is caring, bright and articulate.  When asked to write a bio about why she choose Ridgway as her new career destination and what this choice means to her future, she delivered in a most artistic presentation (please see below). This is why we already adore her, and we think you will too. She is accepting new patients - call 970-626-5123 to schedule an appointment. 

From Sarah:

Some mornings when I wake up, there is a sliver of blue light diffusing through the opening between the drape that covers my window and the bedroom wall.

Beyond the blue glow of dawn is a silent valley floor. Telluride is asleep, perhaps even in the midst of an open-mouth whistling snore. The San Jauns that line the enchanted box canyon are receiving the first sensations of the sun’s warmth. The feeling is peace.

Then I make my commute. Every morning is different, the colors, the snow, the temperature, the soundtrack, yet each day brings a similar internal bliss-- a sense of gratitude, inspiration, amazement. Winding around the pass. Wide horizons. The Dallas Divide. Opportunity.

I feel as though my vehicle floats into town like gigantic snowflake just as the day’s activities begin in Ridgway.

I was hired at Mountain Medical Center in the middle of November. Following graduation from Vanderbilt in August, I spent time in my hometown Mississippi. There I enjoyed the comfort of my family, the dense heat, the familiar sounds and smells of my childhood. I made the decision years prior to immerse myself in an environment where I am happiest and healthiest. So far for me, that has been this beautiful corner of southwestern Colorado.

The staff and patients of Ridgway Mountain Medical greeted me warmly. I feel enthusiastic and extremely fortunate to now be part of the team providing health care to the people of Ridgway.

An overarching goal of the partnership that I want to create with my patients will be increased number of years and quality of life. In order for this to be, the perspective of care must not only include the treatment of acute symptoms through medication but also incorporate behavior modification and lifestyle change. Nursing is founded on the theory of holism. Holistic care focuses on the whole individual including the connection between the physical body, emotion, spirituality, social/cultural context, and environment. As a family nurse practitioner, I am able to address the illnesses of individuals of all ages and stages of development, yet I feel passionate about disease prevention and the promotion of comprehensive wellness.

The year is new and the opportunity is great to begin incorporating my graduate research and previous experience into my practice at Mountain Medical Center. In the coming year, the team will be working together to utilize technology in order to create individualized care plans, track and evaluate measurable outcomes, and communicate more efficiently. I believe in health promotion initiatives that focus on behavior change, weight management, smoking cessation as well as group visits for common chronic diseases. I’m eager to address the healthcare needs of the children and adolescent population in the community. Our team will seek out creative educational opportunities with this group in hopes to promote empowerment and minimization of health risk.

I am satisfied with this beautiful dream. Please do not pinch me.


The end of an era....   Dr. Sherwood has announced that he is leaving Mountain Medical Center to pursue his own practice. 

Dear  Valued Patient,

Mountain Medical Center, LLC values you as a patient, and  we consider it a privilege to be involved in your personal health care.  At this time, we want to inform you of a few changes that will be taking  place here at Mountain Medical Center.  Dr. Sherwood has been caring for patients here for over 16 years, and we appreciate the services that he has provided to our community.  He has now chosen to move into a solo practice and we wish him the best in this new endeavor.

As of January 1, 2013, Dr. Sherwood will no longer be practicing with Mountain Medical Center, LLC.  He has asked that any future correspondence to him be forwarded to P.O. Box 270, Ridgway, CO 81432.  If you would like your health records transferred, please contact us and sign a records release form.

Mountain Medical Center, LLC, is continuing to serve all our patients with high quality medical care.  Dr. Joel Gates is accepting new patients, and we are pleased to announce the addition of Sarah Lauderdale, FNP to our staff.  Sarah is trained to provide services for all ages and has the aspiration to help patients remain healthy through preventive measures.

We desire to continue to care for you, offering  full-spectrum services as your Medical Home.  We realize that your choice of Health Care Provider is very important and we wish for you to have the best care possible.  Please let us know how we can best serve you to achieve this end.


Mountain Medical Center, LLC

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