Study to show hospital’s value to Vail |

Study to show hospital’s value to Vail

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL ” In an effort to keep the hospital in town, Vail, Colorado is commissioning a study that will look at the economic impacts of the Vail Valley Medical Center.

The $22,000 study, which the Vail Town Council approved in a 4 to 3 vote on Tuesday, will quantify the economic benefits of the hospital, including the people it employs, the services it brings to residents and guests, and the business it brings to the town.

The growing hospital has considered moving or expanding downvalley. The move isn’t imminent, and hospital officials plan to work with the town and community before deciding anything, said Margie Ristow, chief of staff at the hospital.

“We have to look at what’s best for the hospital,” she said. “We’re still very much in the planning process.”

Town council members agreed that the hospital is indispensable to the town, and that Vail should make a case for keeping it in.

“The hospital is too valuable to lose,” said Mayor Dick Cleveland.

However, they council disagreed on whether a $22,000 study was necessary.

“The hospital is critically important to the town of Vail,” said Councilwoman Margaret Rogers, who voted against the study. “We want to do whatever we can that is prudent and reasonable to keep the hospital is here. But I’d rather see the $22,000 going to keeping the hospital here instead of figuring out how bad it would be if the hospital left.”

However, other council members thought it was important to have facts provided by the study.

“By doing this economic study, these dollars are being spent to keep the hospital in town,” Councilman Mark Gordon said. “It’s important that we have quantifiable numbers and empirical evidence so we can act not on intuition and our feelings, but with (hard evidence).”

The study should look at options for the town if the hospital does decide to move, said Ed O’Brien, a member of the hospital board of directors.

The town could benefit from collecting property taxes or sales taxes ” neither of which are currently generated from the hospital ” from another business that would move into the space, he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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