Regional health care looks to ride a wave of momentum into 2016.
For starters, this year should see an official announcement by Penrose-St. Francis Health Services regarding the location of its newest hospital campus. The health system was granted a variance by City Council for what could be a 200-foot-tall structure near the intersection of Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard, but finalized plans have yet to be unveiled.
“We have not purchased any land, and we have not obtained funding to build a new hospital,” Chris Valentine, director of communications for Penrose-St. Francis, told the Business Journal last month.
“We have not hired an architect to design a hospital. All we have done is select a site that we feel would fit our needs and done our due diligence of obtaining a zoning variance prior to purchasing the land.”
Hospital plans aside, a statement issued by Penrose-St. Francis Health Services communications department said the system “is gearing up for a bustling 2016” to include groundbreaking for a $102 million expansion of St. Francis Medical Center in the summer, which should be completed by 2018.
“St. Francis Medical Center has exceeded all expectations since opening in 2008 and as more people choose Penrose-St. Francis for their health care needs and the population in the northeast part of the city continues to increase, it will be imperative to step to the challenge and ensure our community has access to world-class care,” the statement said.
Additionally, YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region and Penrose-St. Francis recently entered into a strategic community-wide partnership to improve the health of the population and enhance the value of both organizations.
“Throughout 2016, the YMCA and Penrose-St. Francis, each with unique competencies and workforce talent, will share a common purpose in improving the health of our community through new programs and services, such as health risk assessments, screenings and employee wellness,” according to the statement.
UCHealth’s Memorial Health System, the city’s other major provider, is expecting to open its 22-bed community hospital this summer off North Nevada Avenue. The 86,000-square-foot hospital will include three surgical suites and intensive care services and will be operated through a partnership with Adeptus Health.
The hospital will translate to approximately 100 permanent jobs when open, according to Memorial spokesperson Cary Vogrin.
Additionally, Memorial is constructing a radiation oncology building on the Memorial Hospital North campus, with a projected opening in March. The 10,000-square-foot building will house a linear accelerator to provide radiation therapy for cancer patients. It will be the first such piece of equipment on the north side of Colorado Springs, Vogrin said.
Memorial is also introducing a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit, one of three in the state, which will provide emergency stroke care to the region. The MSTU will allow stroke experts to scan a patient’s brain while in the field and, if needed, administer medications that can preserve brain function. The MSTU, part of a research initiative, will begin operations in the Denver metro area in January and is expected to begin services in Colorado Springs in April.
Medical students will also begin clinical rotations at Memorial Hospital in April as part of the hospital’s alignment with the CU School of Medicine.
Memorial’s north campus will see extensive construction beginning this year with Children’s Hospital Colorado breaking ground this winter. The hospital, expected to open in 2018, will include operating rooms, an emergency department and neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.
“On behalf of our faculty, team members and board of directors, Children’s Colorado is delighted to announce plans for a new children’s hospital to serve the southern Colorado community,” said Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children’s Colorado. “As important as the new healing environment that pulls all these services together for kids and only kids, I can’t emphasize more highly the value of the exceptional people who make up our team of dedicated pediatric experts.”
Colorado Springs Health Partners is expanding services in 2016, according to Beth O’Brien, marketing manager with CSHP.
Tri-Lakes residents will have increased access to care at its northern location with the recently announced hiring of Dr. Dara Lowe, a family medicine physician starting this month.
CSHP’s urgent care locations will expand offerings to include weekend and weekday after-hours care and the provider’s pediatrics departments at its East, Briargate and Southwest locations will offer rotating after-hours appointments during the week, O’Brien said.
Additionally, specialist physicians will be starting with CSHP in late spring, to include a cardiologist, rheumatologist and dermatologist. CSHP is also expanding operations at its sleep clinic in order to increase patient loads, and the provider is “actively recruiting more specialty services and specialists … in 2016,” O’Brien said.
Kaiser Permanente of Southern Colorado is carrying over its expansion efforts from 2015 to the New Year.
“Over the last year we have expanded the number of specialty services available to members in our Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Southern Colorado,” according to Holly Kortum, executive director for Kaiser Permanente in Southern Colorado.
“In 2016, we now have a full-time endocrinologist at our Parkside Medical Offices, in addition to dermatology, sleep, optometry, hearing services and pediatrics. This is in addition to the specialty care services available through our network of affiliate providers.”
In 2016, Kaiser is launching mobile ID cards for members, who will be able to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and email physicians and care teams using online tools. Members will also be able to schedule “video visits” with a Kaiser Permanente provider through a secure web-based program.
“In 2016, we’re looking at developing new plans and increased options for our Southern Colorado service area,” Kortum said.