Pediatric changes at Vail Health won’t affect most kids’ primary care | VailDaily.com

Pediatric changes at Vail Health won’t affect most kids’ primary care

Starting Nov. 1, University of Colorado School of Medicine-trained pediatric nurse practitioners in affiliation with Children’s Hospital Colorado will provide on-site, 24-hour inpatient coverage at Vail Health Hospital.

VAIL — Vail Health Hospital, formerly the Vail Valley Medical Center, recently announced a partnership with Children's Hospital Colorado that local officials said will provide 24-hour coverage for pediatric patients in the Vail Valley.

"The knowledge and experience offered by our partners at Children's Colorado is second to none," said Doris Kirchner, president and CEO of Vail Health, in a news release about the partnership. "In our rural community, it will be beneficial to take advantage of specialists from a top urban hospital where they see more, treat more and heal more kids than any other hospital in the seven-state region. We look forward to our local families benefiting from their training and expertise any time of day or night."

About Nurse Practitioners

The new partnership begins Nov. 1. Starting then, pediatric nurse practitioners will be at Vail Health Hospital full time, available to see patients 24 hours a day. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed a master's or doctoral program and have advanced clinical training.

Nurse practitioners can order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, including lab work and X-rays. They're also able to prescribe medication and other treatments.

Vail Health declined to comment on the facility's current staffing beyond the news release announcing the new partnership.

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On the other hand, much of the pediatric care in the valley is handled by the providers who aren't at the hospital. That includes Centura Health, Kaiser Permanente — both of which have hospital networks — Colorado Mountain Medical and the Eagle Valley Care Center.

The Eagle Valley Care Center, located in Eagle, is a division of Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Colorado Mountain Medical has long been associated with Vail Health, but the two are separate businesses. Colorado Mountain Medical's two pediatricians and 10 family-practice doctors see young patients for check-ups and routine illnesses and injuries.

Children will be taken to the hospital for off-hours emergencies or if a primary care doctor decides a child needs hospital care.

Dr. Brooks Bock, CEO of Colorado Mountain Medical, wrote in an email that if a primary care doctor admits a child, or is notified about an admission, that doctor will still monitor the child's care, even after hospital personnel take over the case.

After a patient is discharged from the hospital, primary care doctors take over most cases.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

Four facts

• Pediatric nurse practitioners will begin providing 24-hour, on-site care at Vail Health Hospital beginning Nov. 1.

• The nurse practitioners will rotate between Vail Health Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.

• Nurse practitioners in Vail will be able to work in real time, if needed, with Children’s Colorado doctors.

• Primary pediatric care is available from Colorado Mountain Medical and other providers not affiliated with Vail Health.

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