U of U Health honors Dr. Val Jones

Clinical Champion at UNHS and Blue Mountain Hospital... Dr. Val Jones was honored with the Clinical Champion Award from University of Utah Health, during its annual affiliate dinner, in April. Congratulations!

Dr. Val Jones, of Blanding, was recently awarded the Clinical Champion Award, by University of Utah Health.

The Clinical Champion Award honors clinical providers who go above and beyond in delivering health care to the regions they serve. Dr. Jones received the award, during the U of U Health annual affiliate dinner, in April. Jones said he was told of the award about a month before the affiliate dinner.

“I tried to talk them out of it,” he joked. “But they insisted.”

“Dr. Jones has clearly been a champion for health care in San Juan County, being one of the major reasons that specialty care is available at UNHS, so patients don’t have to travel to receive care,” stressed Suzanne Young, Public Relations and Marketing Manager for U of U Health.

Dr. Jones’ award was accompanied by a video commissioned by U of U Health, and produced by a videographer from Moab. This video highlights Dr. Jones and his career with UNHS. It can be viewed on the Blue Mountain Hospital Facebook page. In the video, Jones talks about growing up in Blanding, deciding early on he wanted to be a physician and that Blanding was the only place he’d ever want to be. He returned to Blanding in 1989 and has practiced ‘very happily’ in San Juan County ever since.

“For several years I was the only provider in Blanding and care was very limited,” he says. “We had no specialists coming here. People would have to drive to Salt Lake or Provo or other places to see specialists and it’s a minimum of 4 and a half to 6 hours driving. Actually, I think people didn’t get as good a health care as they could have if specialty care was available locally.”

UNHS came into existence in 2000 with the idea of providing health care to impoverished, underserved resi- dents. Since that time UNHS has expanded into four clinics throughout the county, with over 300 employees and seventeen providers. Jones says being rural and remote has been challenging and rewarding because UNHS can help people in many areas. He also says the affiliation of UNHS and Blue Mountain Hospital with U of U Health has been a great advantage for both organizations and their patients. Specialists, including cardiologists, visit San Juan County regularly. And the availability of tele-medicine with several of the departments at the University of Utah has been a great service. These include tele-neurology, tele-dermatology and  tele-psychology.

“Our efforts to improve local access to specialty care has made a huge difference to people, and we’re real proud of that,” he added.

Dr. Val Jones was the original provider for UNHS when it started serving patients eighteen years ago with only a handful of employees. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. He also practices at Blue Mountain Hospital, in Blanding.

New Employee at Blue Mountain Hospital


Jessica Eddie

There’s a new Registration Specialist sitting behind the front desk at Blue Mountain Hospital these days and her name is Jessica Eddie.

Jessica began working at BMH on February 23 and she’s doing a great job. A native of Blanding, Jessica attended San Juan High School and after high school spent many, many years working at Clarke’s Market. So if she looks familiar, that might be where you’ve seen her.

A few years ago, she and her husband, Wilbert Eddie, Jr., decided to work together and travel, so they worked in the oil fields of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Billings, Montana, before working for Kennecott Copper for a short time. After that, she stayed home for a year with her three children – daughter Shishaaniidiin, 14, daughter Dinehbahh, 12 and son Dasan, 8.

When she heard about the position at Blue Mountain Hospital she applied and she is glad she got the job. She said she likes the work and the time goes by quickly because she stays busy.

She and her family enjoy hunting elk and deer and she likes processing her own meat. She said the goal is to get her two oldest children involved right now and help them get hunting tags. The family also enjoys fishing and camping.

Jessica is a welcome addition to Blue Mountain Hospital and she is helping make a good impression on hospital visitors when they meet her. We’re glad to have her as part of the family. If you haven’t done so yet, say hello the next time you see her.


Amber Sonny


One more note about the Navajo Mountain Clinic, Amber Sonny, who has been working there for six years now, recently completed her class, passed the test and received her certification as an EMT.


Amber said she traveled to Monument Valley every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from September to December to take the class. When she finished the class she traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona and took the test to certify as an EMT on January 12. She paid all the costs to travel to Monument Valley three times a week and other expenses required to complete the EMT course, along with the other students who completed the course.

She noted that Otis Oldman, UNHS Paramedic and Training Officer who taught her class, called her after he learned the results of the test and asked, “How do you think you did on the test? Do you think you passed?”

“He already knew the results and was giving me a hard time,” Amber said. Otis later said he was proud of those who completed the course and actually took the test to certify as EMT’s.

Amber now works with the EMT’s in Monument Valley on Fridays. We’re proud of her and congratulate her on completing the course and passing the test. She’s going to be a great addition to the UNHS EMS program.


Happy Birthday Jermaine…


Jermaine Shaw celebrated a not so happy 1st birthday while in Blue Mountain Hospital with pneumonia on March 9, 2018. Hospital staff decorated his room and bought presents

to make the day as good as possible under the circumstances. Thank you.

Courtesy photo

BMH makes changes in leadership positions


Spring is traditionally the time for cleaning, rearranging, and making life-changing improvements. Well, Blue Mountain Hospital administrators are about to do a little changing and rearranging of their own.

After more than three years as the hospital’s CFO, Jimmy Johnson has decided to

move on and has accepted a position with another organization. The new position will allow him to pursue a different experience and broaden his expertise beyond the financial arena. BMH CEO, Jeremy Lyman explained that Johnson will leave at the end of March. Johnson joined Blue Mountain Hospital in October 2014, after working as the CFO at Utah Navajo Health System. Lyman noted that Johnson did a great job during his time at BMH and will be missed.

With the announcement that BMH CFO Jimmy Johnson is leaving, Kent Turek has been appointed as interim CFO. Lyman explained that Turek, who is currently the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer, recently completed his MBA studies at the University of Utah and has a desire to broaden his experience to include the business side of healthcare management, in addition

to his clinical experience. Turek joined BMH in March 2012 as an RN and became the Chief Nursing Officer in June 2013. He will assume his new duties on April 1. Lyman stated, “I have complete confidence in Kent’s ability to transition smoothly into this role. He has been preparing for something like this for a while and this opportunity is a perfect fit.”

As part of the shuffle, Trent Herring has been named as BMH’s new Chief Operating Officer.  Herring has been with Blue Mountain Hospital since August 31, 2009, just one month after the hospital opened. He has worn several hats during his time with BMH. In addition to his current position, which he has had for the past six years, Herring has been a maintenance tech, an electrician, a scrub tech and materials manager. As Turek takes over the CFO duties, Herring will expand his role at BMH,

including overseeing some of the departments previously overseen by Turek.

We wish Johnson all the best in his new endeavors. We are excited about what the future will hold for BMH as Turek and Herring assume their new duties.



New Employees at Utah Navajo Health System Inc.


Loretta King

Loretta King is a native of Navajo Mountain, who attended high school in Flagstaff, Arizona and Rough Rock, Arizona. After high school she moved to Anaconda, Montana and studied welding. She also lived in North Dakota and Florida, before moving back to Phoenix, Arizona, where she studied at the Bryman School of Arizona to become a Dental Assistant. She then moved to Page, Arizona and worked as a Dental Assistant for three years.

She went back to school after working in Page, and attended the Carrington College of Phoenix, to become a Medical Administrative Assistant. In 2013 Loretta moved back to Navajo Mountain and worked as a substitute at the Navajo Mountain Community School. Eventually she learned about a Patient Registration position at the Navajo Mountain Clinic and applied. She started her new job in January and is excited to be working with UNHS.

“I like it,” she said. “It’s good to be home. I get to see my relatives and old friends. And I get to see my parents all the time. I’m looking forward to this opportunity. This is what I went to school for, to work in the medical field.”

Loretta has five children – all boys – ages 21, 16, 9, 8 and 5. When she’s not working she said she just enjoys being a mom and spending time with her four children, who are still at home. We wish Loretta all the best in her new position and know she will be a real asset to UNHS.


Loretta Coleman

Loretta Coleman is a native of Kaibeto, Arizona, who has lived in Navajo Mountain for the past four years with her husband and family.

She graduated from the Tseyaato High School, in Page, in 2012. After high school she stayed home and started raising her family, before moving to Phoenix and working as a Sterilization Tech at a dental office for one year. She then moved back to Kaibeto for a time and eventually moved to Navajo Mountain.

For the past month she’s been working as a Dental Assistant at the Navajo



Mountain Clinic and she loves her job.

“It’s something new and I’m learning as I go. I look forward to learning much more,” Loretta said.

She and her husband, Graham Tallman III, have two sons, ages 9 and 4. In her spare time she enjoys being with her family. We’re glad to have Loretta join the UNHS family and we wish her the very best in her new position.

Shannon Slowman

Shannon Slowman began working as a Screener with Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. in February, after more than six years with Southwest Health System, in Cortez, Colorado.

Originally from Aneth, Utah, Shannon graduated from Whitehorse High School and later served as an Americore Worker for two years in San Juan County. During that time she worked as a nurses assistant for two years with UNHS, before receiving a scholarship to attend CEU. She went on to attend the College of Eastern Utah – Blanding Campus and received her Associates Degree in 2011. She also earned her Medical Assistant certification. From there she went to work for Southwest Memorial in 2012 as a Medical Assistant, working with several different doctors: including an Orthopedic Surgeon, a Traveling Physici

an and a Family Practice Doctor.

She worked at Southwest Health System until she began working for UNHS last month. She is glad to back with UNHS because it is more local and it’s a new experience for her. Shannon and her family still live in Aneth. She and her husband have six children. The two oldest sons, ages 21 and 18, are on their own now, leaving four children at home. Shannon also has a son, 14, a daughter, 12, and two younger sons ages 10 and 7.

When not working, Shannon loves to spend time with her family. They enjoy a number of activities from eating out and watching movies, to camping, fishing, swimming and being outdoors. She says UNHS is a different environment from her previous job and she is enjoying the change. We welcome Shannon to UNHS and wish her all the best in her new position.




UNHS offers new prescription discount plan


In an effort to help lower prescription costs for patients using the pharmacy services of Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., UNHS has initiated a $4.00 Club program, in conjunction with the Leader® Prescription Club.

According to UNHS PharmD Tyler Gilson, anyone who uses UNHS pharmacies to fill their prescrip- tions can participate in this program. Joining the club is easy. All that’s required is a $10 annual fee that will be assessed with your first prescription. This fee covers the entire family for one year and can even include family pets. After the fee is paid, patients pay the normal $4.00 fee instead of paying a co-pay.

By using the $4.00 Club, patients can receive discounts on select medi

cations listed each month in the Leader® Prescription Club’s Generic Item List. This list can be accessed on line at www.myleaderprescriptionclub.com or from your UNHS Pharmacist, who can also answer questions about the list. Gilson said the Generic Item List may vary slightly from month to month, but the list is basically the same each month.


The FAQs charts at the right are provided by CardinalHealth and can be accessed at the website listed above.

They can answer most of your questions about the Leader® Prescription Club and the UNHS $4.00 Club, and explain the program more fully. If you have more questions feel free to consult your UNHS Pharmacist.


Along with the new $4.00 Club discounts, and honoring regular insurance plans, UNHS Pharmacies also offer sliding scale payment plans for patients who have no insurance or are under-insured. For more details about the sliding scale program contact the front desk personnel at any UNHS Clinic (Blanding, Montezuma Creek or Monument Valley). They can help you apply for sliding scale benefits.

The UNHS $4.00 Club started March 1. Anyone wishing to get more information, or to sign up for the discount club, can contact any UNHS pharmacy.

DNA Legal Services to offer free legal advice March 27


Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. is teaming up with DNA Legal Services to provide free legal consultation at the Montezuma Creek Clinic on March 27 and May 22.

“This is an opportunity to provide free legal care to people who can’t afford it,” explained UNHS CEO Michael Jensen. “Our goal is to provide a space where this can happen. When the new Montezuma Creek Clinic opens we might be able to provide that space on a monthly basis.”

DNA Legal Services celebrated its 50th Anniversary last year. According to the DNA website, “DNA is an acronym for the Navajo phrase Dinébe’iiná Náhiiłna be Agha’diit’ahii which means “attorneys who work for the economic revitalization of The People”. DNA People’s Legal Services is a 6-office, nonprofit law firm in the Southwestern United States that provides free civil legal services to low-income people who otherwise could not afford to hire an attorney. We provide legal assistance, advice and representation in U.S. and tribal courts, promote tribal sovereignty, and offer community education programs that promote greater understanding of the law. Since 1967, DNA’s services have helped people living in poverty use existing policies and laws to protect their property and assets, stay safe from physical, mental and financial abuse, avoid exploitation and safeguard their civil rights.”

Heather Hoechst, Medical and Legal Partnership Attorney for DNA, confirmed last week that DNA attorneys and Tribal Court Advocates will be in Montezuma Creek on March 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hoechst said anyone with a legal question, regarding almost any legal matter, will be seen on a first come, first served basis.

“They will first talk to our support staff to make sure they are eligible for our services. They will then have the opportunity to speak with an attorney regarding their legal questions,” Hoechst explained. “We can then determine whether they just need legal advice, whether we can make a referral or whether we can represent them in court. It’s all on a case by case basis.”

Hoechst said the attorneys are licensed to practice in the Navajo Nation, New Mexico and/or Arizona. However, there are currently no DNA attorneys licensed to practice in Utah state courts. Therefore any legal issues that require representation in the Utah courts or legal system can only receive advice and a referral to a free legal agency in Utah. She said DNA attorneys can hear almost any type of legal questions, from family and consumer law, to power of attorney, wills, advice on Social Security Disability questions and many more issues. They do not deal with criminal cases, however.

“Other than criminal, you name it. Come on in and ask. At least we can provide some direction,” Hoechst added.

Those coming to discuss a legal matter should bring any documents related to your question. You do not need to be a member of the Navajo Nation, but if your question deals with Utah State Law, it will most likely be referred to a local resource office.



Joint Commission survey gives UNHS DME green light


Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. recently soared through another successful Joint Commission survey of its new Durable Medical Equipment Department.

According to UNHS Durable Medical Equipment Manager, Logan Monson, this was a unique three-day survey to ensure that the new DME department meets all Joint Commission standards. Monson has been working with UNHS administrators and department leaders to create policies, procedures and logistics to start the newest division of UNHS. Their efforts paid off with sterling survey results in the Homecare portion of Joint Commission standards from inspector Cindy McNicholas.

McNicholas spent three days at the UNHS Community Health Centers in Montezuma Creek, Blanding Family Practice and Blanding Family Vision Center, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain. With the exception of a few small issues, the survey found the DME department to be in compliance with Joint Commission requirements. Part of the survey process included leadership sessions with UNHS personnel, talking about the role of leadership and developing a culture of safety throughout the organization. This was a big talking point, Monson added.

Another huge focus of McNicholas’ message during the survey was making patient care the biggest focus of the organization.

“She stressed that is why we’re in this industry and it must be the most important thing,” Monson explained. “She also thanked all the employees each day for doing a great job of focusing on patient care.”

“We are all going to be patients one day and we need to make sure we take care of each other,” McNicholas stressed during her visit to Navajo Mountain. “This is my passion. We need to take care of each other.”

Monson said he met with UNHS department leaders; emergency management, infection control and maintenance personnel, and all clinical managers to help establish the policies and procedures for the DME department. They offered suggestions and input into how the new department should operate. This input was invaluable to the process, he noted.

As for the DME department, UNHS is currently operating as it has up to now. However, the goal is to expand the scope of operation to include a wider variety of medical services, like oxygen and other equipment. This expansion will begin once the new Montezuma Creek Clinic building opens this summer. The plan also includes expansion of the Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain clinics to accommodate  DME offices in each location. It also includes a DME office facility in the new UNHS Blanding Clinic that will open in the spring of 2019. Monson said the entire process could take up to three years to complete. The next step of the DME department is to become licensed with Medicare.

“We are going slow with this until our facilities are available. UNHS is growing like crazy but we’re keeping up with the growth,” Monson explained. “The UNHS Board of Directors is very supportive and that’s important. The Board members have the same vision as the UNHS administration and providers, and that’s providing great patient care. We want to provide the best patient care possible.”


Dr. Matthew Lyman DO to join BMH Surgery team


Blue Mountain Hospital is proud to announce that Dr. Matthew H. Lyman DO will begin practicing Orthopedic Surgery here in April.

Dr. Lyman currently lives in Farmington, Utah. He has practiced in Davis County since 2010 and performs a variety of orthopedic procedures. He enjoys sports medicine, joint replacement, carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, arthroscopy procedures of the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle, bunionectomy, ankle stabilization for chronic sprains and fractures of the upper and lower extremity.

Dr. Lyman received his Bachelors Degree from University of Utah and then attended A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in Kirksville, Missouri, graduating in 2003. He served an internship in Ft. Worth, Texas, a residency in Detroit, Michigan and a fellowship in St. Louis, Missouri. Following his fellowship, Dr. Lyman began practicing in Davis County.

Dr. Lyman grew up in Salt Lake City, but his father, Gary Lyman, is a native of Blanding. His grandparents are the late Lynn and Hazel Lyman. He spent a lot of time visiting Blanding, while growing up and he still enjoys visiting Blanding when he can. He graduated from Granite High School and served a mission for the LDS Church in Russia from 1991 to 1993.

His wife, Rosemary, also grew up in Salt Lake City and graduated from Highland High School. He and Rosemary have been married twenty years and have four children. Their daughter – Ariel, age 18, will graduate from high school this year. Their three sons are Jay – 16, Alexander – 11 and Daniel – 9.

Dr. Lyman plays the piano and in his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors hiking and seeing the country. He said he’s looking forward to practicing at Blue Mountain Hospital and we are happy to have him as part of the BMH family.

For more information or to make an appointment to see Dr. Lyman in April, please call the Blue Mountain Hospital Surgery Department at 435-678-4812.