On March 15, Colorado Springs Health Partners celebrated the opening of its east branch – a 23,000-square-foot facility – at 6340 Barnes Road, just east of Powers Boulevard and north of the Sky Sox Stadium.

Members of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of CSHP, physicians and other CSHP personnel, along with a group of children from the nearby Children’s World pre-school center, were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Patients will have access to physicians on site who are board certified in the areas of family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics. The offices will house x-ray and laboratory services as well.

“This is a huge opportunity for people of eastern Colorado Springs to have health care at their doorstep,” said Mark Iroio, chief executive officer of CSHP. “This new facility serves a lot of people, from the very young to the very old.”

Colorado Springs Health Partners, established in 1946, is the largest, physician owned, multi-specialty practice in southern Colorado. The east branch is the newest among 11 sites that employ more than 80 physicians. Visit www.cshp.net for more information.

PPCC nursing program opens simulation lab

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The Pikes Peak Community College nursing department has acquired a new medical training lab that features high-tech simulations that mirror nursing stations, medication and patient areas.

One of the features of the new lab is SimMan by Laerdal Training Simulators, a manikin that exhibits illness symptoms and “talks” to the nursing students. There also is a SimBaby and other life-like manikins that simulate the real patient.

The lab includes a camera room, a debriefing room and several computer stations. The faculty will be able to film students as they perform nursing skills.

“We’re very proud of our new nursing lab,” said Mary Ann Wermers, PPCC nursing coordinator. “It is one of two in the entire state that has been chosen as a model site for others to visit and see Laerdal’s simulations in action.”

The PPCC nursing program and the new simulation lab are at the Rampart Range Campus, 11195 Highway 83. For more information or a tour, call 538-5400.

Kaiser names new Colorado region leader

Donna Lynne, PhD, will assume duties as the new president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado on April 4. Lynne replaces Chris Brinkley, who left last year to take a position with Kaiser’s national office.

Lynne brings more than 20 years experience to the position. Her past credits include a stint as the senior vice-president for New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corp. under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. She spent two years as the executive director of the New York Business Group on Health, a nonprofit organization with 250 members from business, government, unions, health care and insurance companies. Lynne also was the vice-president and chief operating officer of New York- based Group Health Inc.

Lynne earned a doctorate in public health from Columbia University, and, as an avid skier, hiker and biker, she’ll be right at home in Colorado.

“I’m looking forward to stepping in and carrying the momentum Kaiser Permanente Colorado has reached over the past several years,” she said. “All of this comes at a time when the region’s medical teams are taking care of more and more Coloradoans every day. It’s a great time to join this dedicated team.”

Name change

SemperCare Hospital of Colorado Springs Inc. has changed its name to Select Specialty Hospital – Colorado Springs Inc. as a result of a merger between the two long-term, acute-care companies.

Select Specialty Hospital Inc. manages 99 long-term and acute care hospitals throughout the country.

Alzheimer’s spring education series

The Alzheimer’s Association, Springs chapter, is sponsoring a seminar, “When Reasoning No Longer Works,” from 10 a.m. to noon April 8 at the Inn at Garden Plaza, 2520 International Circle.

Family caregivers, professionals and anyone who wants to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease are invited to attend at no charge. Call 266-8773 for more information or visit www.alzrockymtn.org.

Health care tidbit of the week

According to a January news release, Helen Darling, the president of the National Business Group on Health, said, “Data shows that employers find a potential 3- to-1 return on investment, or $300 for every $100 spent per employee, on implementing preventive services and health improvement programs. Those savings are significant, and, as a result, we expect to see employers turning to preventive services to improve quality of life and to contain future health care costs.”

In a 2004 survey of National Business Group on Health members, companies cited heart disease, cancer, low back pain, diabetes mellitus and pregnancy complications as the “costliest health conditions in terms of direct medical claims.”

More than 90 percent of large companies offer some type of health promotion or prevention programs, fewer than 30 percent of the employees used the preventive services. The business group released the “Employers Guide to Health Improvement and Preventive Services” to help more companies foster healthier workplaces, which controls costs.

The guide was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and is available at no charge by visiting www.businessgrouphealth.org.