Brewer announces retirement from Glenwood’s Valley View Hospital | PostIndependent.com

Brewer announces retirement from Glenwood’s Valley View Hospital

When Gary Brewer took over as Valley View Hospital's chief executive officer over two decades ago, he said he knew nobody enjoyed a trip to the hospital but fought to ensure that patients still felt at home to the greatest extent possible.

Monday, Valley View announced the retirement of the 67-year-old CEO, as well as the appointment of his eventual successor, longtime local urologist Dr. Brian Murphy.

"I have been thinking about this for a while. And, from a timing standpoint, it really could not be better," Brewer explained of his decision to retire after 21 years of service to the Glenwood Springs hospital.

Under Brewer's watch, Valley View Hospital grew exponentially into a 21-acre medical campus, which included the addition of nearly 400,000 square feet of hospital and medical offices. Those new facilities gave birth to health care services previously unavailable to the community, too.

"When you look at the area geographically, the hospital just needed to be doing so much more for the community. At least that is what I felt like," Brewer said of when he first joined Valley View in 1997. "Just what can be done here now from a cardiac standpoint is really tremendous considering how [Valley View] did not even have cardiology back 21 years ago."

Today, Valley View offers interventional cardiology, neurosurgery and comprehensive cancer care, among other services that have allowed community members to stay in the area for both emergent and planned care.

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"Cancer is obviously such a terrible disease, but at least we can provide the care in a very conducive and very homelike environment," Brewer said of Valley View Hospital's Calaway Young Cancer Center.

Currently Glenwood Springs' number one employer, Valley View serves as an economic engine for the region. However, with rampant growth comes growing pains, and the outgoing CEO said he cannot thank the hospital's staff enough for never losing site of each individual patient's overall experience at Valley View.

"We have great people and great staff. There has been a tremendous amount of involvement in helping this hospital grow," Brewer said. "What better people do you want living in your community than the people that we can bring in, and I think that has proven true," Brewer explained of Valley View's nearly 1,200 employees who now live in the Roaring Fork Valley and its surrounding areas.

Brewer's retirement is expected to officially commence this summer. He said Valley View will be in good hands with Dr. Murphy at the helm.

A Duke University-educated urologist, Murphy has practiced for over 18 years in the community and has also worked in leadership positions, including as Valley View's chief of staff and chief medical officer.

"[Dr. Murphy] has served in almost every facet of the medical staff," Brewer said. "[He] knows so much about the organization. He knows not only the people on the hospital side but also the medical staff itself."

Although Brewer will no longer serve as Valley View's CEO, he said he and his family will remain in Glenwood Springs.

"We are not going to leave Glenwood. We will be here for a long, long time," Brewer laughed.

Brewer said he was looking forward to being retired but admitted that he would miss Valley View's day-to-day operations.

"I know there is nothing inviting about being in the hospital, but we try to make it as peaceful as we can," Brewer explained. "It finally dawned on me one day that the best way to make that happen was to have a great environment for your people to work in."

mabennett@postindependent.com