Middle Park Medical Center – Granby prepares to open
Granby, CO Colorado
The new Middle Park Medical Center in Granby has reached the punch-list phase of construction, parking-lot paving and is nearly fully staffed, all on par for an expected Jan. 1, 2012, opening.
According to Kremmling Memorial Hospital District officials, the new center will employ about 50 people, with some positions shared by existing employees of the district’s Middle Park Medical Center in Kremmling.
Meanwhile, a Halloween-inspired Grim Reaper stands outside Centura Health’s Granby Medical Center with a sign: “RIP: Granby Medical Center, Born 1980; Died Jan. 1, 2012.”
The date marks the day when Centura Health transfers operations and assets to the Kremmling district and the new Granby facility.
According to Middle Park Medical Center officials, about 17 offers have been made to Granby Medical Center employees since Centura and the Kremmling Memorial Hospital District announced the deal.
“Ten have accepted,” said Middle Park Medical Center spokesperson Eric Murray, “and we’re waiting to hear back on two others.”
Employees from the Granby Medical Center were not automatically absorbed by the Kremmling district under the deal. All job candidates had to apply for the positions on an equal basis, Murray said, but the fact that Granby Medical staff members might have an established rapport with Grand County patients makes them desirable employees.
The positions being filled by Granby Medical Center employees at the new facility range from nursing, laboratory and radiology, ward clerks, critical care techs and patient services.
The district purchased the downtown Granby Medical Center for $2.6 million, with Centura loaning the district the money.
Emergency room doctors from the Granby Medical Center have yet to commit.
“We opened the doors up to physicians and are waiting for a response. Some responded, some want to talk to us more. We’re open to further discussions with them,” Murray said, adding that the level of all benefits, including pay, “are different” from what Centura – the largest health care provider in Colorado – might provide.
Granby Medical Center’s Dr. Jeffrey Lipke, who has practiced family medicine there since 2006 and is one of six doctors at the center, said he is planning to open his own practice in Granby at the former specialty clinic across the highway from the new Middle Park Medical Center.
Granby Medical’s Nurse Practitioner Karen Charland will be joining him at the new “Ten Mile Family Medicine” clinic, he said, which is also slated to open on Jan. 1.
“I’m really excited to start a practice and continue to provide excellent care to our patients here in Grand County. I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
And Medical Director Dr. Tim Bohlender, who was with Granby Medical for 15 of his 20 years in Grand County, said he is zeroing in on prospects in Wyoming and Montana.
“The truth of the matter is, most all of this was out of my control,” he said of the deal announced in September. “I was shocked when the whole thing came down. This was sprung on me six weeks ago. I couldn’t have been more surprised.”
Bohlender had planned to finish his career in Grand County, he said, but now plans to uproot his family for opportunity elsewhere.
“The whole thing makes me very sad,” he said. “I felt very privileged and honored to be able to take care of (Grand County patients) all these years. I’m really going to miss the long-term relationships.”
Many of the 48 full- and part-time staff members at Granby Medical said they couldn’t accept pay decreases to work at the new facility and may be forced to move their families.
Rachel Kilgallen, RN, has worked at the Granby Medical Center for 16 years, but said joining the Middle Park Medical Center at this time would have meant a significant pay cut. “It’s significant enough that it makes more sense for me to work part-time in Denver,” she said.
Although there are Granby Medical employees who will continue to live and work in Grand County, “I’m concerned we’re losing excellent medical people and staff from the area,” said Granby Medical Center patient Ann Schamberger, of Granby.
“I believe that everybody at our facility is top-notch,” Bohlender said. “Any facility or organization that would hire anybody from our place is very fortunate.”
According to staff members, many have worked together at the Middle Park Medical Center for longer than a decade, and the transition is emotional for many.
“We raised our children together,” more than one said.
“I want people to feel friendly toward the (Middle Park Medical Center),” Kilgallen said, “but I think our voices need to be heard that we are very sad. We will miss it. I love my job, I love the people I work with.”
The downtown property
Although Kremmling Memorial Hospital District officials have tentative ideas for the Granby Medical building on Agate Avenue, they have not yet determined what it will be used for.
In a prepared statement, Centura said the company opted to sell its building in order “to enhance the value of health care services for the residents of Grand County and surrounding communities.”
“We’re not interested in reducing health care value by duplication of services or by further fragmenting the care delivery process,” wrote Centura spokesperson Wendi Dammann, “and remain confident that consolidation of services will produce a number of long-term benefits for the community.
“Centura Health will continue to serve the residents of Grand County through its affiliation with Kremmling Memorial Hospital District, working in partnership to support development of locally owned and operated health services that will keep health care local whenever possible.”
The new center
Kremmling District officials have been giving public tours of the new Middle Park Medical center, which is all but complete save for final touch-ups, the installation of some medical equipment, supplies and furniture, and final state inspections.
The new facility includes nine exam rooms, and will have four resident physicians including Kremmling Memorial’s Chief of Staff Dr. Mark Paulsen, as well as other established physicians in the Middle Park Medical system along with visiting doctors from surrounding facilities on a regular basis.
There will be one medical assistant for every three rooms at the family-practice clinic, with one nurse for every seven patients, according to Murray.
The facility will be considered a critical access facility along with the Middle Park Medical Center – Kremmling. As well as emergency room/trauma services, the facility will have general outpatient surgery such as orthopedic, dermatology and ear, nose and throat, and two inpatient beds for patients in need of care overnight or longer.
A CT scan will be located at the clinic, and a mobile MRI will be available starting once per month, with a possible increase in availability depending on demand. The facility will also provide X-rays, labs, a blood bank and an “InstaMed machine” for patients to access pharmaceuticals when a pharmacy may not be open.
The interior of the facility is painted in shades of yellow, brown, maroon and green, with natural light flowing freely into the main hallway sitting gallery and in some examination rooms and inpatient quarters.
One large room is dedicated to administration. This was intentional, Murray said, as hospital officials worked to be efficient with square footage as the project scale decreased from 40,000 square-feet to about 20,000 square feet during the course of planning – retaining the ability to expand the building as need dictates.
The new Center will also work with emergency-flight helicopters from four different regional companies that provide this service. The hospitals to which helicopters take patients will be based on patient choice, Murray said.
The Middle Park Medical Center has strong connections to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat, Murray said, and strong ties to Mayo Clinic facilities for lab work, as well as ties to Children’s Hospital, St. Anthony Central and others.
Addressing concerns district officials continue to hear, the Middle Park Medical Center in Granby is financed independently through the sale of bonds, Murray said.
In 2008, Kremmling Memorial Hospital District board investigated the possibility of extending its taxing boundaries, but after much study, backed away from this.
“There’s not discussion about it now at all,” Murray said. “The economic feasibility of the project is very strong. It’s been the board of directors’ objective to enter into this with strong financial viability.”
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603
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