Valley View Hospital sees a healthy future

Carrie ClickPost Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Valley View Hospital is a place for those who are sick and need care – but the hospital’s finances are the healthiest they’ve been in the nonprofit’s nearly 50-year history.That’s what Gary Brewer, the hospital’s chief executive officer, told Valley View Hospital Association members at their annual meeting Thursday. Brewer said Valley View ranked second out of 164 hospitals nationwide that belong to QHR, a hospital association, in terms of financial health.That’s good news for the hospital, as the hospital is already well on its way in its six-year, six-phase renovation construction project. Both the architecture firm, Hart, Freeland & Roberts, and the general contractor, R.J. Griffith, of Nashville, have extensive experience building and, most importantly, renovating hospitals that are open and operating during construction.The design for the Valley View Hospital expansion looks more like an alpine ski lodge than a typical medical center. “We want people to say, `This doesn’t look like a hospital’ when they see our plans,” said Gary Brewer, pointing to a large artist’s rendering of the renovated building.”Hospitals have often been seen as cold and sterile places,” he added. “We want to change that impression. We want this to be a welcoming, comforting place for patients, their families and friends, as well our staff.”He said phase 1 began last year, when Glenwood Springs citizens voted to close a portion of 19th Street. The closure is central to the hospital’s expansion plans. The street closure allowed construction of a 187-space parking area and a debris containment system uphill from the hospital, and a new access road under construction north of the Valley View Medical Office Building. In addition, Brewer said more than $200,000 went towards building enhancements in 2002, including new carpet, new furniture, textured walls, fresh paint and artwork. “Studies show shorter healing times and increased comfort when patients are surrounded by a warm and homelike environment,” Brewer said. He complimented volunteer Cheryl Peterson, a local designer, who led much of the redecorating efforts in the hospital’s interior spaces, including the lower lobby, gift shop and chapel. Brewer said that in September, workers will start building an addition on what is now upper 19th Street for new emergency room, family birthplace and physical therapy areas. Following that work, third and fourth floors will be added to the hospital. A full renovation of the Youth Recovery Center and acute care areas will be next on the list before crews build a new kitchen. Plans also include a healing garden and an intensive care unit waiting area. During the final phase, scheduled for 2008, both the original section of the hospital built in 1954 and a remodel completed in 1964 will be demolished.Additionally, at the hospital association annual meeting:-Association members unanimously elected Glenwood Springs resident Ken Kranz to the association board. Kranz, a retired banker, will serve a four-year term. -Brewer said the hospital added a total of seven physicians to its staff in 2002, bringing the total number of doctors to 77.-Association secretary Carolyn Hardin reported the hospital’s medical education library is up and running in the space formerly occupied by the gift shop. -Association member George Wear voiced his concern about the parking needs of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, currently under construction across the street from the hospital. Wear had heard the church will have a seating capacity for up to 1,000 people but no additional parking spaces have been added to the area. -Wear also asked if the new Grand River Hospital in Rifle will take patients away from Valley View. Brewer said Valley View will lose some patients to the new hospital, but not an appreciable number.Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext.

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