Vail Health merges with Colorado Mountain Medical | VailDaily.com

Vail Health merges with Colorado Mountain Medical

Vail Health CEO says merger will help pool resources and lower costs for patients

Colorado Mountain Medical physician Dr. Diane Voytko with a patient. The local physicians group and Vail Health hospital Monday announced an agreement to merge.
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VAIL — Colorado Mountain Medical and Vail Health announced Monday that the two local health care providers have signed an agreement to merge.

A release about the merger stated that Colorado Mountain Medical’s 37 primary care and specialty clinicians will complement Vail Health’s “comprehensive health care system.”

In that release, Vail Health President & CEO Will Cook said, “Together, we will improve access, connect patients with the right care at the right time and make health care more affordable for our community.”

Some of those efficiencies may take some time to realize. In an emailed response to questions, Cook wrote that for now, billing from both entities will continue as it has.

“The process of integration will take time,” Cook wrote. “Vail Health is currently working on revamping and streamlining its own billing services.” Cook added that Vail health is also investigating options for “enhanced price transparency tools.”

Colorado Mountain Medical CEO Dr. Brooks Bock said in the release that combined resources will result in a more efficient and effective health care approach.

“Patients will experience the same trusted providers and same convenient locations. This new partnership creates an opportunity to optimize patient care by leveraging greater access to health care services and resources in our community,” Bock said.

In an email, Cook wrote that the merger will expand services beyond what’s currently available.

“What is gained by becoming one organization is the ability to pool resources to hire additional providers for both physical and behavioral health care needs in our valley … Better coordination will also help us with alternative payment models that will contribute to lowering the cost of health care in the valley.”

Cook noted that the merger would also create “economies of scale” by sharing “back-office” functions and services.

The release stated that Colorado Mountain Medical and Vail Health hope to proactively keep the community healthy. Vail Health will help bring more primary care providers to the practice to ensure patients are seen on a regular basis.

“A focus on prevention helps people live healthier and longer lives,” Cook said. “Overall wellness also helps prevent more costly visits to specialists, urgent care and the Emergency Department. However, if patients need emergency attention, hospitalization or even senior care, this new model will ensure seamless care. By being one organization, we can make these transitions smooth and consistent.”

Vail Health will also provide resources to hire more medical specialists to manage chronic diseases. In addition, some of the $60 million Vail Health has dedicated to behavioral health over the next 10 years will be used to hire behavioral health specialists who work directly with Colorado Mountain Medical’s clinicians.

“If we’re providing primary care to this community, we need to treat each patient’s body and mind,” Cook said. “We want physicians to have integrated relationships with the therapists in our community so that patients can get the help they need quickly and efficiently.”

Bock said the merger will allow Colorado Mountain Medical doctors to spend more time on patient care.

“Our physicians want to spend their time caring for patients, but increased regulations in health care demand significant time and attention. Joining with Vail Health allows our team to focus on providing excellent patient care while the health system manages elements of the business side,” Bock said.

“Colorado Mountain Medical has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Vail Health, and we’ve worked closely with their providers and staff over the years,” said Janet Engle, MD, a pediatrician and president of Colorado Mountain Medical. “It’s exciting to officially come together. This partnership will have direct benefits for all of our patients and the community.”

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