Vail hospital considering downvalley move |

Vail hospital considering downvalley move

VAIL, Colorado ” Citing space constraints at the Vail campus, the Vail Valley Medical Center’s chief executive announced Tuesday its intentions to relocate services downvalley.

Under one scenario, a new medical campus of about 30 acres and 125 beds would be built downvalley, said John Cassin, president and chief executive officer of the medical center. The medical center has talked to Magnus Lindholm about using his land in Avon, and Wolcott is another possibility, Cassin said.

Some medical care would stay in Vail, such as emergency services, urgent care, X-rays and physical therapy, Cassin said.

Under a second scenario, the Vail campus would become a center for orthopedic medicine, building upon the reputation of the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, a world-renowned orthopedics center.

“We would be looking to capitalize on that stature, taking it to the next level,” Cassin said.

A “community” hospital offering services such as obstetrics and other care that caters to local residents would be built downvalley, Cassin said, naming off Avon, Edwards, Wolcott and Eagle as possible locations.

The emergency room and an urgent-care center would stay in Vail either way, Cassin said.

The hospital’s board of directors will consider the two scenarios over the next few months, Cassin said. A decision could be made early next year, he said, with completion of the plan targeted for 2012.

The medical needs of the Vail Valley are growing, Cassin said. Rooms are now housing two patients instead of one, which isn’t an ideal situation, Cassin said.

“It’s apparent that the (Vail) medical center has reached the limits of its ability to expand,” Cassin said.

The current 5-acre Vail campus has 58 hospital beds and 175,000 square feet.

Two years ago, medical center officials had plans to double the size of the Vail campus with some 120,000 square feet in additions. But those plans have been scrapped as the medical center looks downvalley.

Tom Steinberg, a retired physician who became Vail’s first doctor when he moved here in 1965, said the shift downvalley is inevitable.

“There’s no choice,” he said. “The patients are moving downvalley.”

It makes more sense to put the obstetrics center downvalley, Steinberg said.

“How many pregnant ladies do you see that are living in Vail full-time?” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

Support Local Journalism