New Medical Facility Opens
Leadville Celebrates St. Vincent
Justice. Mercy. Compassion.
These three qualities are the cornerstone of St. Vincent’s legacy. The Saint, that is, whose Catholic faith and name now bear out on the new medical facility celebrating its Grand Opening in Leadville Today. After years of planning and construction, St. Vincent Health (SVH) is hosted an Open House on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Residents toured the new $26-million facility; refreshments were served from the Silver Dollar Saloon.
A New Day – A New Hospital
According to a press release distributed by Karen Onderdonk, SVH Chief Branding Officer, “the highest-altitude hospital in North America, makes history once again in Leadville, Colorado.”
The new innovations follow in the tradition of the visionary nuns and determined miners of St. Vincent’s vibrant history. In 1879, the tenacity and toil of these early residents created the first Leadville hospital. Channeling that same pioneering spirit, this high alpine, rural community opens its new, state-of-the-art, critical access hospital in September 2021.
“While critical access hospitals across the country have been closing, we’ve been constructing a $26 million replacement hospital to serve the rural 400-square-mile Lake County service area,” chief executive officer Brett Antczak said.
“It’s exciting and gratifying to know that the people of this community will have options to receive consistent, quality care close to home, which they need and deserve.” Antczak adds that it’s rewarding to reopen St. Vincent Health’s surgical services, after having been shut down seven years ago.
The message distributed to media outlets continued, “in 2014 the hospital nearly closed. Because of a methodical, pragmatic turnaround that focused on the organization’s finances and increasing inpatient volume, St. Vincent Health is now financially sound and growing.” A true community-focused hospital, the organization is led by the St. Vincent General Hospital District volunteer board of directors. St. Vincent Health ascribes to Healthcare Hospitality, a patient care philosophy in which the team of healthcare providers and staff care for people as though they’re family.
Construction is backed by a Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan, obtained at very favorable interest rates, and from a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant for surgical suite equipment. Predominantly, the furniture and equipment for the new hospital has been paid for in cash, from operating funds and through generous donor contributions and grants.
A diverse team of regionally acclaimed, board-certified specialty and primary care physicians have enthusiastically committed to serve the residents and visitors to this Colorado tourism destination and community. The new hospital is right-sized for Lake County with several types of inpatient rooms, laboratory, imaging, pharmacy, inpatient rehab and round-the-clock emergency medical services. 0230 The St. Vincent Health grand opening takes place Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A ribboncutting, hospital tours, food and beverages, giveaways and prizes are planned at the new facility located at 822 W. 4th Street. Guests can meet St. Vincent physicians, providers, medical and administrative staff at the event.
“This is a true Colorado success story. As an independent and unaffiliated hospital, we have never given up. Today we thrive as we stand on the shoulders and success of those who came before us,” says Antczak. “This new Leadville hospital means residents and visitors will experience less travel to hospitals and specialists in other regions of Colorado, or elsewhere, for specialty and surgical services. Local patients can be cared for in their hometown by highly credentialed healthcare professionals, in a state-of-the-art surgical facility. Perhaps even more important, a patient can now have surgery where his or her family and friends live, and where post-surgical support is close by.”
About St. Vincent Health
At 10,152 feet elevation in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, St. Vincent Health serves the residents and visitors of Lake County and North America’s highest city of Leadville. Established in 1879 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, the hospital has been in continuous operation since first providing care for the hardscrabble miners of early settlement days. Continuing the tradition of caring, the St. Vincent General Hospital District’s new state-of-the-art, eight patient room hospital opens in September 2021. In addition to primary care and urgent care at St. Vincent Family Health Center, the new St. Vincent Health will offer emergency medicine, rehabilitative therapies, laboratory, imaging, inpatient care, sleep studies, and wound care. St. Vincent Health has also grown specialty surgical services to include cardiology, dermatology, general surgery, ear nose and throat (ENT), orthopedics and pain management. www.StVincent.Health.
Who Was St. Vincent de Paul?
Training Close to Home: Med. Asst Program
With a growing community and upgraded medical facility, the need for trained and certified staff in Leadville Today is crucial. Fortunately, there is good news for those who are looking to make a career shift, and the training is close to home!
Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) in Salida has launched the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Trainee Program, and is currently seeking applicants for its inaugural program. The program consists of an eight-week, on-the-job training that prepares students to become a CMA and take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam through the National Healthcareer Association.
HRRMC hires and pays students accepted into the program while they complete their training. Opportunities for added financial benefits to the student include sign-on and completion bonuses, full employee benefits and the potential for HRRMC to cover 100 percent of the student’s tuition costs.
The program is time-intensive and requires a commitment of 30 to 60 hours per week, consisting of a combination of hands-on experience in the clinic from HRRMC registered nurses (RNs) and medical staff, and online education courses taught through the U.S. Careers Institute.
“As the demand for clinically-trained staff grows nationally, we saw a great need in our community, and decided to launch our own program,” said HRRMC CEO Bob Morasko. “We want to help nurture each trainee to grow their career, have a positive training experience at HRRMC, and ultimately hope they choose to stay at our organization helping those in need in our community.”
CMAs are a vital partner to medical providers, performing both clinical and administrative support. Responsibilities may include assisting in examinations and procedures, coding/billing insurance forms, patient education, and performing or arranging a variety of medical tests. HRRMC is currently accepting applications for this program. For more information and to apply, please CONNECT HERE.
Treatment Center Webinar Update: Sept. 23
Solvista Health will hold an informational webinar regarding its new Regional Assessment Center (RAC) for substance use treatment on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Noon. The public is invited to listen in regarding updates and the next steps of this project. The new RAC will serve the central region, including Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Lake, Park and surrounding counties, does not currently have higher levels of care for substance use treatment, causing residents to travel over 100 miles, in some cases, to receive help. The Regional Assessment Center (RAC) will provide services that do not currently exist in thid region, such as:
- Acute Treatment – intensive, short-term treatment options for severe mental health and substance use issues.
- Withdrawal Management – a safe, supervised treatment space to withdraw from alcohol and drugs.
- Respite Care – a place to comfortably and safely get a break from a difficult situation.
“A 13,000 square mile donut hole, smack dab across the middle of our state,” is how Brian Turner, CEO of Solvista Health, described the gap in appropriate behavioral health services for a massive swath of Colorado when the facility broke ground in May 2021. “Our state ranks in the top 10 nationally for alarming rates of drug and alcohol problems, and yet we are also among the highest for unmet treatment needs,” says Turner.
In February of 2020, Solvista Health was awarded a $700,000 grant to help build the RAC. The grant was made possible through Colorado House Bill 19-1287, which targeted treatment in rural and frontier counties. The bill was crafted by the Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Interim Committee of the legislature and had broad bipartisan support, including passing the State Senate by unanimous vote.
“Research shows an undeniable connection between substance use, mental health, and overall health,” said Turner. “So, we have teamed up with our local partners and community leaders to design an option that will provide an integrated, comprehensive approach.”
Over 50 public and private organizations signed on in support of this project across the region showing their awareness of the problem and their commitment to making local communities healthy, thriving places to live, work and play. Construction began in May and the goal is to have the project completed by the end of March 2022. Solvista Health is hoping to raise $6.5 million to realize the full vision. The facility will be located on the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center campus in Salida and is an example of the growing collaboration between the two nonprofit organizations. The cooperation does not end there. Planning has been underway largely through the Region 13 Substance Abuse Regional Coalition (SARC) and will continue with increased engagement and feedback from community members. Tax-deductible contributions to Solvista Health can be made by contacting, Jill Anderson at 719-275-2351, firstname.lastname@example.org.