Kaiser’s Troy Stubbings and Holly Kortum outside the new medical building on Parkside Drive.
Kaiser’s Troy Stubbings and Holly Kortum outside the new medical building on Parkside Drive.

With a network of approximately 40,000 members in Colorado Springs and more than 61,000 throughout Southern Colorado, Kaiser Permanente, Colorado’s largest nonprofit health plan, is weeks away from opening its second ambulatory care building in the city, and its third medical facility in Southern Colorado.

Scheduled to begin operations Jan. 2 at 215 Parkside Drive, the 20,000-square-foot medical office will provide pharmaceutical, routine imaging and lab services, as well as primary care with specialized care beginning in the spring. Neurology and endocrinology will be the first specialties in 2015, according to Troy Stubbings, Kaiser’s director of business operations and market expansion, adding that more specialty practices will be assessed and integrated as needed.

The new building will join existing Pueblo and Briargate facilities in Southern Colorado. Services at the Briargate location provided care only to those 55 and older when it opened in 2009, but transitioned last February to serve anyone.

“We see an opportunity to serve our members and provide more convenient care,” Holly Kortum, Kaiser Permanente’s executive director of operations in Southern Colorado, said of the expanded services. “In February we opened [our Briargate location] to all ages. Previously it had been just a senior center, and we felt a need for our members to have more access points and options.”

The existing infrastructure at Parkside Drive has undergone a complete renovation since Kaiser signed a lease to purchase earlier this year. According to Stubbings, the new facility is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — or LEED — certified.

“The building required extensive demolition and we wanted to reduce our footprint,” Stubbings said. The eco-friendly design features efficient mechanical systems; construction waste management; LED lighting and controlled lighting systems; low volatile organic compounds in paints, fabrics, adhesives and flooring; Energy Star efficient equipment, recycled materials and sustainable certified wood products.

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“Eighty-five percent of the material taken out of [the previous] building is being reused,” Stubbings said.

The new facility will have a staff of approximately 15, including up to four physicians as well as nurses, a pharmacist and radiology technician, according to Stubbings.

“Creating jobs is something we’re very proud of,” he said. “Kaiser’s been in the community for 20 years and part of our focus is contributing back to the commerce of the community.”

Stubbings said the passage of the Affordable Care Act has meant “substantial growth” for Kaiser Permanente, and Kortum added enrollees in Southern Colorado have increased 11 percent since the ACA’s implementation.

According to a Kaiser Permanente news release, “more than 4,000 Southern Colorado residents have joined Kaiser Permanente Colorado through the state’s health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.”

Kortum said that while ambulatory care, urgent care and stand-alone emergency facilities are being built in the city at a steady clip, Kaiser has taken its time assessing the market.

“We understand the competition and want to complement and meet the needs [of our users], but not over-saturate,” she said. “We contract with a lot of partners in the community for urgent care, and we’re not directly competing with urgent care. Certainly we want members to get the right care in the right venues at the right time. But [market studies are] why we’re growing at the pace we are. We’re not adding 10 medical office buildings. We’re adding one and we’ve been in the market 20 years.”

Kaiser Permanente, by the numbers

• 29 medical offices statewide

• 3 medical offices in Southern Colorado

• 624,000 members in Colorado

• 61,000 members in Southern Colorado

• 40,000 members in Colorado Springs metro area