Facelift planned for Vail hospital | VailDaily.com

Facelift planned for Vail hospital

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail’s hospital is planning more patient rooms and major facility improvements in the next couple years, hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, Vail Valley Medical Center will continue to work on plans to expand the hospital downvalley.

The hospital has been working on plans for expansion and improvements for more than a year and recently narrowed its choices down to several options, said hospital CEO John Cassin.

Improvements to the Vail campus, which sits on 4.5 acres between Vail Village and Lionshead Village, will include four new private patient rooms, remodeling the emergency services entrance and department, and adding more room for doctor’s offices.

“Adding private patient rooms is an immediate priority up here in Vail,” Cassin said, adding that a high-caliber hospital in an affluent community such as Vail shouldn’t have to double up patients in rooms.

Those improvements might happen in the next six to 36 months, and may cost anywhere from $5 million to $20 million.

Also, some operating rooms will be added to the Edwards clinic, an improvement that officials hope will help draw more top physicians to the area.

“Our operating room capacity restrains our ability to recruit high-end medical professionals,” Cassin said.

The hospital still hasn’t pinpointed a location for a new downvalley hospital, which could cost up to $250 million to build.

“”We’re looking at properties in Avon, Edwards, Wolcott and three to four other sites,” Cassin said. “We’ve been clear that we’re noncommittal to any developer at this point.”

Those decisions might be made at the end of the summer, he said.

The downvalley location would act as a community hospital catered to local residents and equipped for more in-depth hospital stays. The hospital would sit on 15 to 30 acres of land and include about 125 beds. The current Vail hospital has 66 beds.

“It wasn’t ever a matter of if we were going to expand, it was a matter of how and when,” Cassin said.

Regardless of downvalley expansion, Cassin emphasized that the hospital will always have a strong presence in Vail. Emergency services, some doctor’s offices and high-end diagnostics (such as CAT scans and MRIs) will definitely remain in Vail.

An orthopedic clinic will also probably stay in Vail, maybe even in its own separate building. However, less invasive orthopedic surgeries might be moved to the future downvalley hospital or the Edwards clinic.

Since the hospital has talked of expanding downvalley, some community members have expressed concern that the expansion would be an economic blow to the town.

Cassin said the hospital board is “very sensitive to the needs of the community.”

“We don’t want to lose the attributes and marquee of Vail,” he said. “There will be some kind of presence there and it will be a significant presence. That’s the focus we’re creating our vision around today.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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