Yampa Valley Medical Center unveils new sign, celebrates joining UCHealth family | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa Valley Medical Center unveils new sign, celebrates joining UCHealth family

It took only a few seconds Friday for Frank May, Yampa Valley Medical Center's Chief Executive Officer, and Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies, to pull back the temporary covering and reveal the new UCHeath Yampa Valley Medical Center sign hidden beneath.

The months of hard work led lead to the partnership and the significance of the moment were not lost on those who gathered in the Yampa Valley Medical Center entry way to witness the events.

"I didn't sleep last night, because I was so excited about this day," Unger, who was in town to represent UCHealth at the events, said. "We have really been wanting to talk strategy and really get down to business. Now that all of the discussions are behind us, we can look ahead and see how we can grow together."

UCHeath is a nonprofit health care system that includes Poudre Valley Hospital, UC Health's Memorial Hospital Medical Center of the Rockies, UCHealth Medical Group, Broomfield Hospital, Grandview Hospital, Longs Peak Hospital, the University of Colorado Hospital and UC Health's Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs.

As of Friday, UC Health added YVMC to the hospitals in it's organization.  May said it's a move that will result in better health care for people living in Northwest Colorado.

“For me, it is a culmination of a lot of work we have been doing over the past couple of years to bring better health care to Steamboat  I'm so excited about the fact that we have a great partner and we are going to be able to continue to provide services here. It's all about health care, and it's all about people, so I'm excited about that," May said. "I think it's just going to be a gradual improvement of things that we have here. We really want the to work on the cost structure of premiums and those types of things — accessibly of sub specialty care, population health models, where we are actually working to keep people healthy versus having them come into the hospital. Its kind of counter-intuitive to what we have always done, but that’s the direction we need to head. We need to keep people healthy in our community so that they are active and vibrant, and that's what excited me about this: We have an opportunity to pull that all together.”

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Unger said  he sees UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center as a hub for health care in Northwest Colorado. He said the hospital will continue to be involved in the community, provide a high level of care and, for the most part, have local leadership.

"We are extremely excited to make the Yampa Valley our hub of care for the Northwest region," he said. "We want to keep care local. There may be some augmentation of specialists you have not had in this community, and we are going to see if we can get some new providers up here and different services."

In addition, he said, UCHealth will provide security for residents, because the organization can back up and course of treatment that needs to occur.

"We can provide a continuum of care," he said.

The two organization are currently working to provide patients with lifetime health records that can be passed between USHealth organizations, so patients can be treated at any UCHealth facility, and those healthcare providers will have instant access to the records they need.

"A higher level of patient care is the whole objective,"  Unger said. "Improving patient care throughout the whole system is what we are always striving to provide."

Unger was joined by Tom Downes, another UC Health representative who serves as chief medical officer of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. Both men stressed that both organizations bring a wealth of health care experience to the table, and both can learn from one another. They said this merger will continue to provide a high level of health care in the Yampa Valley.

"More than anything, we want to make this a family, and that is how it should be," Downes said.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966