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Glenwood Springs hospital not seeing economic impact

jstroud@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Valley View Hospital has so far not seen any major impacts from the economic downturn, but stands ready to adjust if need be, hospital CEO Gary Brewer said Thursday.

“We have been fortunate in that we’re not really seeing a downturn, and continue to see growth in the services that we provide,” Brewer said.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t see some sort of slowdown during the year,” he added. “We staff to our senses, depending on how busy we are, and try to run the hospital like any business.”

Brewer’s comments came during an interview after the Valley View Hospital Association’s annual membership meeting Thursday. The annual meeting is a requirement of the hospital’s not-for-profit business designation.

Overall, VVH continues to see unprecedented growth, mainly due to the ongoing expansion to the hospital facility and staffing levels over the last few years, Brewer said in his annual report.

The hospital’s assets grew from $221 million in 2007 to $241 million last year. The number of physicians on staff grew during that same period from 138 to 166.

By comparison, in 1997 when Brewer became CEO, the hospital’s assets were $34 million, and there were 42 staff physicians. And the facility itself has also grown from 127,000 square feet 12 years ago to 325,000 square feet today, and growing.

Currently under construction at VVH is the new 7,000 square foot materials management wing and loading docks along Blake Avenue. That project is expected to be completed by the end of this summer.

Next up in the hospital’s master plan will be to replace the older sections of the hospital, built in 1954 and 1962, with a new five-story tower that will house new administrative offices, records, accounting, classrooms and kitchen/dining facilities, plus a new parking structure.

However, that work won’t begin until demand and economic conditions are more favorable, Brewer said.

“The growth of the hospital is due to a move toward more regionalization of health services,” he said. “Everything we’ve done with the new construction so far has been related to patient care.”

VVH directly employs 761 people, plus another 508 secondary employees, Brewer also noted in his annual report. Combined, that translates to more than $57 million in wages.

Total hospital salaries and benefits grew from $45.3 million in 2007 to $51.7 million in 2008.

Other notable statistics from the report, comparing 2007 to 2008:

– Surgeries decreased from 3,510 to 3,461

– Admissions increased from 2,992 to 3,031

– The number of births was exactly the same, 843

– Emergency room visits increased from 12,975 to 13,470

Reelected to the VVH Board of Directors for the year were Mike Fattor, Dr. Paul Salmen and Dr. Matthew Goodstein. New to the board is Dr. Robert Derkash, and leaving the board is Dr. Jerry Steinbrecher. Jan Shugart will be the new board chair for the year.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

jstroud@postindependent.com


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