Medical Center to create multispecialty clinic hub
A vacant section on the east side of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center will be converted into a hub for specialty physician clinics in order to increase ease for patients and efficiencies for staffing.
Ryan Larson, YVMC director of clinic operations, said a 7,500-square-foot space on the ground floor below the UCHealth Jan Bishop Cancer Center will become a consolidated home for six full-time local doctors and two physician assistants in clinics for endocrinology, neurology, rheumatology, pain management, and heart and vascular care.
“We’re fortunate to be able to offer these specialties, especially in a community of our size,” said Soniya Fidler, YVMC president. “When patients are able to receive care close to home, it has a positive impact on their health.”
Larson said, in addition to coordinated patient care, the top benefit of the new clinic will be staff coverage efficiencies during a very tight medical employment marketplace. The center will include a combined reception area and the ability for administrative and nursing staff to help cover shifts when other employees are out sick, on vacation or on lunch breaks.
“With the market now, it is difficult to find additional staff if someone is sick,” Larson said.
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The new space will include a blood draw lab for the specialists and a relocated cardio stress room adjacent to a cardiology clinic. The mutual space will include two rooms specifically equipped for tele-health conferences for patients who are not on-site or to connect with other specialists who are not on-site, Larson said, which helps to save patients from driving long distances.
Board-certified endocrinologist Dr. Jessica Devin, on staff at YVMC for three years, diagnoses and treats disorders of the endocrine system in adults and has seen her local specialty practice grow in volume. Devin, who has been seeing patients in the oncology clinic area, said she is looking forward to the new combined area since many of her patients’ needs overlap with other specialty medicine areas such as rheumatology and neurology. Devin said the benefits to patients in having one space for multiple specialty providers “will help streamline care and allow me to interact more to make sure patients are getting what they need.”
“It will also provide more education for nursing staff when they are covering for each other as well as more on-the-job, cross-training opportunities for nurses,” Devin said. “Having us all in one place will make things a bit easier.”
In addition, seven specialist physicians from the Front Range who each visit Steamboat Springs on average once per month for a two-day stint will have space in the multispecialty clinic. Those visiting doctors include two cardiac and thoracic surgeons, two doctors in electrophysiology and two pulmonology doctors. The doctors are connected with the UCHealth system, and many of them are headquartered in Fort Collins. A pediatric heart and vascular specialist, Dr. Michael DiMaria from Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, is the latest addition to the visiting specialists, having traveled to Steamboat since 2019.
Larson said the specialists, who have been added gradually to the local medical center through the years, have varying locations throughout Steamboat including in the Medical Office Building on the hospital campus as well at the office building at the intersection of U.S Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road.
The new space will allow room for growth in future full-time staff. Larson said pulmonology is one area the medical center would like to add a full-time doctor instead of a visiting physician.
“We have opportunities to add other specialties if the market demands it,” Larson said.
Visiting physicians may start off serving Routt County and regional patients two days a month and eventually grow into full time at YVMC. The most recent clinics to move to local full-time services include UCHealth Neurology Clinic with Dr. Tracy Vargas in August 2020 and UCHealth Rheumatology Clinic with Dr. Nicole Cotter in September 2020.
Selected through a competitive bidding process, Front Range based Saunders Construction will complete the work from early fall through late spring 2022. The construction company has worked on previous projects in the UCHealth system on the Front Range, said Lindsey Reznicek, YVMC communications specialist.
Reznicek said the new space will offer 15 exam rooms and two procedure rooms and will occupy an area that remained unfinished since the cancer center opened in 2017. Specialty physician moves will be staggered to allow for transition time, and patients will receive location updates prior to their appointments, Reznicek said.
Larson and Devin said the combined specialist space should create improved customer service and patient experiences including things as simple as patients finding their way to appointments on time.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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Peak Health Alliance, a health care purchasing cooperative created in Summit County in 2018 after it had one of the highest average health care costs in the nation, is looking to expand to Routt County.