by Kevin Unger, PhD, FACHE
I get asked this question a lot. I’ve been told that our community doesn’t understand who or what UCHealth is and what we stand for; that they think we’re based out of Boulder; that we are part of the University of Colorado. I want to take some time today to explain who we are and what we do. Here is the short answer:
Here is the longer story of our courtship with the University of Colorado Hospital and our evolution into UCHealth.
The courtship begins
It all began in 2011, through many conversations about the future, the state of health care and health care reform, we decided an engagement with another hospital was in order. Poudre Valley Health System, anchored by Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland with many clinics throughout northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, declared our intent to partner with University of Colorado Hospital, an academic teaching hospital in Aurora. This hospital has ties to the University of Colorado through the medical school but the hospital is not based in Boulder nor is it a part of University of Colorado.
In early 2012, we took the next step. We married UCH and chose to change our health system name to University of Colorado Health. I must tell you, digesting this name was hard for me at first. We hired a company to conduct research about brand recognition and the research told us this was the name for us.
But, as many of you know, I was born at PVH. I grew up in Fort Collins. I was a Lambkin at Fort Collins High School and I still bleed green and gold for CSU. I am proud to be a CSU Ram. Watching the PVHS name fade away and embracing a name that sounds like CU was a hard pill for me to swallow.
Name change aside, I knew that this would benefit our patients in the long run. I strongly believe in putting patients first and keeping our patients at the center of our decision making processes. I knew in the years ahead that our community would greatly benefit from an integrated health system, direct access to cutting edge research, a universal medical record and access to great care throughout Colorado.
Partnering with UCH would help us create a unique system where patients would have access to their community-based providers but, when life delivered the unexpected, they would also have access to UCH’s academic medicine including cutting-edge research and additional clinical trials.
Our family grows
In October of 2012, Memorial Health System joined the UCHealth family. We have welcomed them with open arms, excited to see the health system reach from southern Wyoming to southern Colorado.
Since then, we have continued to grow by adding additional clinics to our medical group. We have changed many processes which improve patient care and make us more efficient and effective. We’re starting to see the patient benefits. The list of changes is long and substantial, all with the goal of making us more efficient, more effective while exceeding our patients’ expectations.
Change is hard. It’s been hard on our employees. It’s been hard for me. I know every UCHealth team member has been affected in some way. On the days that are long, when the change feels overwhelming, I keep my focus on the countless letters I get from patients and patients’ families, telling us how great our team and our care are, and how happy they are that we are part of this community.
Our roots run deep
I’m rooted in our community. My family and I love living in Fort Collins and enjoy taking in all that northern Colorado has to offer. I can’t imagine another place I’d rather be or another organization where I would feel so at home. I’m happy to watch our hospitals and clinics thrive in northern Colorado. I’m happy to be rooted here with an incredible team of physicians, employees and volunteers.
If you work for UCHealth, thank you for your commitment to this growing organization and our patients. If you’re a current or former patient, thank you for trusting us to care for you and your family. If you’re a community member, know that we’ll continue to be here if you need us.