Posts Tagged ‘poudre valley hospital’

By Gary Kimsey

In mid-January, the Garth Englund Blood Center made an appeal through northern Colorado media asking the public to donate blood for surgical and blood transfusion patients at Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Greeley Tribune, North Forty News in Larimer County, Channel 4 and 7 in Denver responded with calls for donations.

The center still needs your help, however.

[How to donate blood at Garth Englund Blood Center]

Michael Sieg, who donated Jan. 15 at the Garth Englund center in MCR, told Channel 4 that he decided to donate after hearing about the shortage. “I just think it’s one of those things you can do to help your community,” he related.

Thanks to the media’s efforts, the number of blood donations spiked upward—120 donations in the first day, compared to the daily average of 25—but the increase wasn’t as much as hoped.

“We’re asking employees to keep donating”

Part of the reason for the blood shortage is the historical post-holiday slump in donations. But this year there’s an accompanying twist: the flu. Donors who are sick or want to lay low to keep out of the flu’s way may be waiting for healthier times to roll around.

As a rule, a public appeal is the last tactic in the toolkit. If a shortage is imminent, Garth Englund staff members telephone or email people who donated before to ask them to donate now. The database totals about 59,000 donors. On the surface, that may seem like a large number of donors, but not all donate regularly and many remain one-time-only donors.

If phone calls and emails don’t bring in enough donors, appeals are then made through the company intranet and email news bulletins to University of Colorado Health employees in northern Colorado. Employees are typically willing to step up.

Appeals to staff members are often made during holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas and around July 4—and at other times when the public’s attention is drawn elsewhere than to donating blood.

As the holidays approach in mid-fall, blood supplies are bolstered by the annual Border Blood Donation War between Garth Englund and United Blood Services in Cheyenne. Each competition donor receives a special t-shirt.

From there, blood donations from community members drop off and then typically pick up in early January. But not so this year, and many UCHealth employees have helped maintain blood supplies.

“Now we’re calling on everyone to help at this critical time,” said Mandi Bornhoeft, Garth Englund manager. “Many community members have been avid donors, but we need more people to join in this important way to help others.”

“And we’re also asking employees to keep donating,” she said.

Gary Kimsey works in UCHealth’s northern marketing department.

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Poudre Valley Hospital will break ground Jan. 17 on an outpatient cancer center in Fort Collins. The ceremony will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

The $11-million, 30,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in 2014. Designed in part by patients perspective, the center will have everything centralized from diagnostic services to treatment and care to survivorship.

GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONYOpen to the public Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Cancer center site; 2121 E. Harmony Road, Fort Collins, CO

Open to the public
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Cancer center site:
2121 E. Harmony Road, Fort Collins, Colo.

The Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation asked community members touched by cancer how to improve care. The consensus was that patients want care close to home, so they don’t have to leave their community. They prefer to have treatment, care and support at one location rather than multiple sites. A cancer patient often has 100 appointments in the first year after diagnosis, adding physical, emotional and financial stress to an already challenging journey.

To answer this challenge, PVH, part of University of Colorado Health, and the Foundation developed plans to deliver one-door access so patients will get virtually all of their treatment and care under the same roof. In addition to community feedback, hundreds of doctors, nurses and staff members contributed to the design.

“We want to provide a better cancer-care experience that meets the needs of patients all in one location,” said Kevin Unger, PVH president and CEO. “We will have everything centralized from diagnostic services to treatment and care to survivorship.”

Cancer survivor Vikki Wagner, chair of the Survivor Advisory Council, said “we are re-defining the cancer experience and making sure healing, hope and wellness are alongside great clinical treatment.”

The center will be located on UC Health’s Harmony Campus in Fort Collins, just off of I-25. Heery International is the architecture firm and Adolfson & Peterson will manage construction.

“It will raise the bar on cancer care in northern Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region,” said Unger, who chaired a community committee that oversaw planning and fundraising for the center.

To date, more than 3,500 members of the community have contributed more than $3 million to the project.

The patient-centric design fosters multidisciplinary care. In this new center, patients will often see multiple specialists in one visit, in one room. These seamless connections will promote personalized treatment strategies managed by a single point of contact from diagnosis to survivorship.

The center will provide access to:

  • Clinical research.
  • Complementary therapies such as massage and healing touch.
  • Counseling/oncology social work.
  • Genetic counseling.
  • Healing garden.
  • Infusion center.
  • Laboratory.
  • Medical oncology.
  • Pathology.
  • Patient navigation.
  • Physical rehabilitation.
  • Radiation oncology.

Learn more about the cancer center.

–Dave Rizzotto, marketing and communications

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Poudre Valley Hospital’s stroke program has been re-certified for the next two years as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

“It’s a great feeling to wake up in the morning and know we can make a difference,” says Georgie Knaub, nurse educator on Poudre Valley Hospital’s neuro unit. She is shown here treating a stroke patient.

The re-certification, required every two years, was done by the Joint Commission after a review of the program at the Fort Collins, Colo., hospital. PVH got the good news Oct. 9 that it had been re-certified.

Poudre Valley Hospital is just one of two Primary Stroke Centers north of the Denver metro area. Boulder Community Hospital is the other. University of Colorado Hospital, part of the University of Colorado Health system that includes PVH, is also an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

The re-certification at PVH is due to successful patient outcomes and the high quality of physicians, nurses and other staff members involved in the stroke program, as well as streamlined processes that treat stroke victims rapidly, particularly through a stroke alert program.

Put in place five years ago, the stroke alert program has saved lives and preserved the functioning of stroke victims in northern Colorado. The program is also in place at University of Colorado Health’s other northern Colorado hospital, the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. (Learn more about the PVH and MCR stroke programs.)

Georgie Knaub, nurse educator on PVH’s neuro unit, said the stroke program has changed the way work is done at the two northern Colorado hospitals.

“Now,” Knaub pointed out, “there are interventional tactics we can do to lessen the impact of stroke. When all the steps in the system fall into place, we can significantly improve patient outcomes. It’s inspiring to watch stroke patients walk out of here and go back to doing what they love to do.”

–Kevin Unger, Poudre Valley Hospital president

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Saturday is Drug Take-Back Day, a Drug Enforcement Administration event that began in 2010. It’s a chance for the public to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs; the event’s web site lists a number of area drop-off locations.

English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Admi...

Drug Enforcement Administration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to today’s Fort Collins Coloradoan, the DEA collects the discarded pills, patches and elixirs, trucking them to a $200 million incinerator in the high desert of northwestern Utah, where they’re destroyed at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit under intensely secure conditions.

It’s a perfect opportunity to explain how Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies dispose of unused or discarded pharmaceuticals to keep virtually all of it out of the trash or drain.

PVH and MCR pharmacists routinely go through medications, pulling and setting aside pharmaceuticals that are expired or can’t be used for various reasons.

Once a quarter, a company called EXP Pharmaceutical Services picks up the unused drugs and take them to EXP facilities for processing; EXP incinerates the medications or sends them back to manufacturers.

Another company, Clean Harbors, comes to PVH and MCR every week to pick up more-hazardous substances.

“Very little gets into the trash or down the drain,” said Rodney Good, director of pharmacy services at Medical Center of the Rockies.

When the state of Colorado inspected MCR a few years ago, Good said, it was only one of two hospitals in state with no deficiencies related to how it disposes of hazardous materials.

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Patient satisfaction at Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies has long been a focal point of Poudre Valley Health System, and that will continue as University of Colorado Health.

Patient satisfaction is about more than just great medical care: It’s about friendly, compassionate nurses and staff, a clean facility and doing whatever it takes to exceed patient expectations.

While PVH and MCR use a third party, Avatar International, to track patient satisfaction, the government also tracks patient satisfaction and reports the results on the Hospital Compare website. Visitors to the site can compare patient satisfaction at up to three hospitals, including those nearby with a simple city or zip code search.

One of the best indicators of patient satisfaction, of satisfaction with any product or service, is whether the patient or customer would “definitely” recommend it to others.

That’s where PVH and MCR shine: 86 percent of visitors to MCR would definitely recommend, and 81 percent of visitors to PVH would do the same.

Both of those marks are higher than any other hospital in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado, including those in Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Estes Park or Cheyenne.

We encourage you to visit the Hospital Compare site and see how PVH and MCR stack up against any other hospital in the country.

–Kevin Darst, director of marketing and communication

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By Kevin Unger, CEO, Poudre Valley Hospital

A new mother holds her baby at Poudre Valley Hospital

A new mother holds her baby at Poudre Valley Hospital.

Health care in northern Colorado is changing, and with that come questions from people in our community who wonder what it means for them.

Your relationship with your doctor is important. It may even be one of the most important relationships you have outside of your family.

Just think: Would you change insurance coverage if it meant you couldn’t have your next baby in Fort Collins? If it meant you’d have to drive to another city to see a specialist you could otherwise see in town?

That’s why we’re encouraging patients and community members to make sure their doctor will still be covered under their insurance plan. Or, if they’re considering changing insurance plans, make sure the new plan will allow them to see the doctor or doctors with whom they’ve built a relationship.

With that in mind, here are a couple of questions we’ve been hearing lately:

Question: Are Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies covered under Kaiser Permanente insurance?

Answer: No, except for emergency visits. Otherwise, Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland are not in the Kaiser network. Procedures and services at these hospitals would not be covered under Kaiser insurance.

Q: Is my Poudre Valley Medical Group / Colorado Health Medical Group doctor covered by Kaiser insurance?

A: No. Colorado Health Medical Group (formerly Poudre Valley Medical Group) doctors are not covered by Kaiser insurance. Patients with Kaiser insurance would pay out-of-network prices to continue to see Colorado Health Medical Group doctors.

Many of northern Colorado’s independent physicians are not covered by Kaiser insurance. If you are a patient at Associates in Family Medicine, Fort Collins Family Physicians or Colorado Health Medical Group, for example, you would not be covered at in-network rates by Kaiser insurance.

If you’ve got questions about your coverage, call your doctor. It’s your doctor, and it should be your choice.

Kevin Unger is the president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital

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The guest blog below is the fifth in an occasional series by Shaun Thomas, a young man in northern Colorado who weighed 725 pounds before undergoing bariatric surgery in Fort Collins, performed by Dr. Stefan Pettine of Northern Colorado Surgical Associates.

Shaun’s first guest blog focused on his thoughts before surgery in August and his hopes for an improved lifestyle, while his subsequent blogs gave an update about his progress. They are all inspiring reads: one month after surgerya Q&A with Shaun; and his dreams for 2012.

If you or a friend think bariatric surgery may help, please call 866.495.7579 or click here to learn more.

Shaun Thomas has lost more than 300 years and improved his life a year after getting gastric bypass surgery at Poudre Valley Hospital.

Shaun Thomas has lost more than 300 pounds and improved his life a year after getting gastric bypass surgery at Poudre Valley Hospital.

I can’t believe it’s been a year.

On Aug. 18 last year, I went in for gastric bypass surgery. At 32 years old and well over 700 pounds, I needed some pretty serious help to change my life. I could only walk a few steps at a time. I couldn’t drive a car. I couldn’t go out with friends. My life was pretty full of “couldn’ts.”

I’m happy to report that life is going great. I can do a lot more. I’m driving. I haven’t been able to drive a car in something like 10 years. I don’t have to ask my mom and my brother to take me places. Now it’s more like, “Who gets the keys?”

I’m fishing. I like to fish and we go out a lot.  This summer, I’ve only caught two fish that were worth keeping. Can you believe it? Only two decent fish all summer? I swear the rest have all been bluegills.

I have endless opportunities. Opportunities where I’m not relying on other people to get me around.

I can run. If I fall down – like I did the other day – I can get back up. My stamina has improved. I played basketball with my brother the other day and didn’t really get tired. I’m walking a lot. In fact, I finally got the courage to go walk around Old Town. It’s still hard sometimes because people still make comments even though I’ve lost more than 300 pounds.

Yes, 300 pounds. Can you believe it? It’s been a great year. And yes, it’s been hard sometimes. I really have to watch what I eat. I can’t eat shrimp – long story. And I’ve had to have a camera sent down my throat to see if anything was wrong when I kept throwing up. (Nothing was wrong. I was just eating bites that were too big. Now I have a mini-fork that helps me eat smaller bites.)

If you can remember, I work as a tattoo artist. Now I’m able to do mobile calls. I can actually go see people and give them tattoos. I also said last year that I had endless opportunities. Now I can say for sure that is the absolute truth. I have endless opportunities. Opportunities where I’m not relying on other people to get me around. Endless opportunities where I can stand on my own two feet. I can only imagine what those opportunities are going to be like in a year. I know I still have a long way to go but I’m motivated.

Getting this surgery has completely changed my life.


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For someone interested in asthma, there’s been plenty in the news lately to catch Cindy Coopersmith’s eye.

First, the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires scorched Colorado and sent billowing smoke into the air, sullying air quality. Now it’s the 2012 Olympics and the chance for an asthmatic swimmer to make history.

A registered respiratory therapist and certified asthma educator at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Coopersmith — who has asthma — says children were particularly susceptible to asthma and other breathing challenges due to fire smoke that lingered in communities from Colorado Springs to Cheyenne. University of Colorado Health issued written alerts and short videos with advice on symptoms and tips for avoiding the smoke.

Olympic super swimmer Peter Vanderkaay has found that asthma doesn’t have to keep children–or adults–on the sidelines.

Aside from the impact of these two major fires creating breathing problems in children, it’s estimated that 5 million children in the U.S. have asthma, so the disease’s effect on children, their families and society is no small matter.

Thanks to the help of the Taming the Tiger class, Kaden Cox’s life went from “miserable” to playing “soccer, baseball and just about everything without restrictions, says his mother, Kristin Cox (in the background).

With the Olympics underway in London, which has some of the worst smog in Europe, broadcasters will be talking about asthma because one of the super athletes, Peter Vanderkaay, is living proof that asthma can be managed. Diagnosed at a young age, the world-class swimmer has control of his asthma.

Compared to the rest of the population, in which asthmatic conditions exist in an estimated 15 million to 25 million Americans, Olympic athletes have a disproportionate tendency toward asthma or exercise-induced asthma. Among famous Olympians with asthma are former runner Jackie Joyner-Kersee and five-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken.

As these Olympians demonstrated, asthma can be successfully managed even under such extreme conditions as smog and smoke, Coopersmith says.

Tiger tamer

Asthma begins with simple day-to-day challenges, and that’s where Taming the Tiger comes in.

Taming the Tiger is a 6-hour educational program that helps people with asthma—particularly children and their families—manage the coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, increased respiratory rate, and other effects of asthma. The “tiger” in the class name, by the way, represents the traumatic and life-altering changers that asthma can bring about.

People from Denver, Sterling, Rifle, and Cheyenne, as well as northern Colorado communities, have attended the class since it was launched in 2001. Coopersmith recently celebrated—by doing a fun dance in her office—the 200th asthma patient and family attending the class.

Kristin Cox of Fort Collins can attest to the benefits of the class. By age three, her son, Kaden, had been admitted to PVH twice and visited the ER several times due to asthma. “He was miserable and I was miserable,” she says.

From miserable to active

She says Taming the Tiger changed her life and, most importantly, improved Kaden’s. Today, he is an active six-year-old who knows about managing his own asthma. He hasn’t been in the hospital for breathing problems since the class and only had to use asthma medication once rather than regularly.

Cindy Coopersmith listens to the breathing of Ava. Diagnosis: good breathing, no asthma.

“He tells us when he needs his inhaler,” Cox says. “Before, he played soccer and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the team. Now, he plays soccer, baseball and just about everything without restrictions.”

What should you do if you suspect your child has asthma? Coopersmith offers this advice:

  • When you go to your doctor to explore asthma symptoms, be a good reporter. Tell the doctor your child’s story. Mention all instances of breathing problems that you remember over your child’s lifetime.
  • Learn as much about asthma as you can to manage your child’s asthma. Help your child learn to manage it, too. (More info on managing asthma.)

“You’ll get to a place where managing your child’s asthma becomes second nature,” Coopersmith says.

This blog was written by Gary Kimsey, marketing and public relations specialist for University of Colorado Health, and Lynn Utzman-Nicols, a freelance writer based in Fort Collins, Colo.

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University of Colorado Hospital is the state’s top hospital, according to the latest rankings from US News & World Report.

[Read the press release]

Poudre Valley Hospital‘s No. 5 ranking in Colorado by US News means the newly created University of Colorado Health has two of the publication’s top five hospitals in the state.

U.S. News, whose rankings are a popular consumer source for gauging quality, scored UCH’s cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, rheumatology and kidney disorders programs among the top 50 in the United States. UCH shares the honor of having the country’s best respiratory care with National Jewish Health. UCH was also recognized as high-performing in a number of specialties.

“University of Colorado Health is comprised of some of the best hospitals in the nation,” said UCHealth CEO Bruce Schroffel.  “We’ve always said our goal is to marry the very best in academic medicine with the very best in community health care. Our shared vision is bringing this level of excellence to a growing number of Coloradoans along the Front Range.”

Poudre Valley Hospital was the fifth-ranked hospital in Colorado by US News, which also named the hospital high-performing in the following specialties:

  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Ear, Nose & Throat
  • Geriatrics
  • Gynecology
  • Nephrology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pulmonology
  • Urology

Medical Center of the Rockies ranked No. 13 overall in Colorado by US News, including recognition as high-performing in orthopedics.

For the full list of Colorado hospital rankings visit www.usnews.com/hospitals.

–Kevin Darst, director of marketing and communications

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News pundits claim this is a time of breathless anticipation.

They’re talking about the Supreme Court‘s decision, due tomorrow, on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The ruling could transform the landscape of health care.

Regardless of what the chief justices decide, industry changes that underscore the federal law already reflect the coming of the new age of big cuts and revised reimbursement formulas.

While the wait for the Supreme Court decision enters its final hours, Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies — like most hospitals in the U.S. — continue on a course set when congress approved the reform legislation in March 2010. No one is waiting around to see if the law will be revised or struck down.

PVH, MCR and the Colorado Health Medical Group (formerly Poudre Valley Medical Group), embarked on a road more than a year ago to provide patients with world-class health care regardless of what health care reform brings about.

Within the health care industry, there’s little doubt that the future business model must include more efficiency, more savings and an improved way of doing things. The movement is prompted by health care reform, but also, significantly, by the market place. The net outcome is that most hospitals are developing strategies to follow now and in the future.

The driving force behind many strategies is a part of health care reform that changes the way hospitals are paid for treating patients. Hospitals have traditionally sought out more patients, since federal reimbursements generally are determined according to the number of patients.

The incoming model, however, provides for a set payment, a fixed amount, to take care of all patients within a community. That will require hospitals and health systems to be more efficient.

If a patient is treated and then readmitted for the same ailment, then the hospital will receive less money. This means a hospital might ultimately become responsible for how patients conform to treatment plans once they leave the hospital setting.

Hospitals that historically relied on sick patients for revenue are now searching for opportunities to keep the general population healthy. Wellness initiatives that encourage people at certain ages to receive diagnostic tests — like colonoscopies and mammograms — improve the chance patients won’t be as sick if and when they use hospital services.

This is a potential win-win for patients and hospitals. Disease is caught earlier, patients receive treatment earlier, and the hospital provides medical intervention before care gets more expensive.

At PVH and MCR, University of Colorado Health’s northern Colorado hospitals, one of the major strategies is to pursue a Lean philosophy and projects that can enhance patient care, standardize processes and protocols, eliminate waste and focus on areas where hospitals add value for patients and the organization.

And like other measures, those projects will continue regardless of what the Supreme Court says about health care reform.

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