University of Colorado Health, the city's new partner in Memorial Hospital, is doing some poaching. That comes from UCH CEO Bruce Schroffel in an Independent interview yesterday, less than 24 hours after 83 percent of Springs voters approved leasing Memorial to UCH for 40 years.
The lease pays the city $259 million up front, of which $185 million has been designated as available to pay any liability to the Public Employees Retirement Association on behalf of Memorial's workers, who will shift to UCH's retirement plan. UCH also will pay $5.6 million a year for 30 years, plus an annual margin sharing payment, if there is one.
One of UCH's top focuses here will be recruiting doctors and other staff for Memorial, which has lost a lot of talent in the last couple of years to the Penrose-St. Francis system, owned by nonprofit Centura Health.
"I am concerned about that," Schroffel says. "We are talking to the physicians. A large group of physicians are leaving Penrose; we believe they will sign up with us [Memorial]. We are talking to other physicians.
We think others will come back, and we also will be recruiting. The University of Colorado Health has an incredible record in its ability to attract good physicians from around the U.S. We have a track record that’s pretty hard to beat. We hope to get those back who have left."
Schroffel wouldn't name the doctor group that will reverse course from Penrose and join Memorial, but said to expect an announcement soon.
On another matter, look for official word soon about Memorial's new management team. Will Mike Scialdone stay on as CEO? Scialdone, the former CFO, stepped into the top job a few months ago, when Dr. Larry McEvoy took $1.15 million in severance pay and left.
"We’re literally making that assessment now," Schroffel said of the management team. "I expect to have an answer over the next two to four weeks. I believe in local control. We want to have a CEO to make major decisions in Colorado Springs."
The UCH team is eager to whip Memorial into shape so that the entire system is prepared as the health care industry puts the squeeze on providers, he says.
"There’s going to be less resources for us," he says. "We’ve got to be more efficient. The goal is to raise the bar qualitatively and lower costs."
One way is to install the same electronic medical records system, called EPIC, in all of the UCH properties, which Schroffel says will save $35 million compared to installing separate system.
Although UCH has brought some other hospitals under its wing, Memorial is the big kahuna.
Here's what he had to say about it:
"We want to focus on Memorial more than anything. We’re taking on a big responsibility and significant risks, and it’s a very difficult time for the hospital the last three to four years. We think the physicians and staff are excited about us being there. We want to put most of our energy there. I'll be spending a couple days a week in Colorado Springs at a very minimum as we communicate with physicians and the community and really raise the bar down there — not that it’s really that low down there. We think that hospital is an excellent hospital and has potential to be great.
"Our board is very concerned about taking on too much at one time. Memorial is really big. Nothing is more important than Memorial. We’re fully at risk to make this work from a qualitative perspective.
"We feel like we’ve gotten a strong endosement from Colorado Springs and now we want to deliver.
We feel we can deliver. The whole country is looking at us. We pride ourselves on quality. We sincerely do. We want to make that consistent, so that you can walk into Memorial, University Hospital or Poudre Valley Hospital [Fort Collins], and it feels the same and the quality and service are the same."
As for charges, Schroffel predicts rates will decline, not only at Memorial but everywhere, because "that's the reality of health care in America. The country is challenged, and we want to make sure we provide a quality service at a lower cost."
While Schroffel identified the integration of Memorial as UCH's chief focus, the nonprofit is still casting its net to other players.
It's negotiating a management agreement with Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyo., after the board of directors issued a request for proposals earlier this year.
"We have signed a letter of intent. They chose us for a management contract. We will be managing that hospital with their existing team and taking advantage of our excellence in quality," Schroffel says.
Poudre Valley Health System secured a management of agreement with the Sidney Regional Medical Center in western Nebraska before the Memorial lease was worked out, he says, adding, "There's a lot of people we're talking to, frankly."
This from UCH's communications department:
"I think Bruce [Schroffel] misspoke tonight about the MHS signs. New signs went up tonight at both Memorial and Memorial North."
————— ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, AUG. 28, 9:28 P.M. —————
Calling the 83-percent "yes" vote to lease city-owned Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health a mandate, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said today's vote marked a watershed moment in the city's history.
The hospital, purchased by the city in 1943, will become the "southern flagship" in UCH's mega-health care system, UCH CEO Bruch Schroffel said during remarks at City Hall tonight.
Pam Schockley-Zalaback, chancellor at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which will host a branch medical school as part of the lease, told the Indy, "I think the community really gets it. This moves us forward together with investment in the future. It's good for education. It's good for health care, and I think the community came together."
Kyle Hybl, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, was equally thrilled with the overwhelming support the lease got from 34 percent of the city's 176,556 registered voters.
"I'm truly pleased to know that Colorado Springs voted for a strong academic future, a strong health care future for our community and a strong economic future for our community," Hybl said in an interview.
City officials said 72,205 voters, or 41 percent, cast ballots. The unofficial tally: 59,820 yes; 12,298 no.
During brief remarks outside the City Administration Building, Bach reminded the small crowd on hand that a year ago the City Council was on the verge of turning Memorial over to a management group headed by Dr. Larry McEvoy, who left in May as CEO after the former Memorial board gave him a $1.15 million severance package.
But Bach and his cronies stepped in and demanded a competitive process, which yielded the 40-year lease agreement with UCH.
"There are few times when we have defining turning points," he said. "We're on the doorstep now of a wonderful future."
Bach used the moment to call for similar types of analysis be applied to "all the city's enterprises," and said the overwhelming vote indicates that voters trust the city.
Asked how the dispute with the Public Employees Retirement Association over Memorial employees' pensions will affect the transfer to UCH, Bach dodged the question, reiterating the city's position that the city owes PERA nothing. PERA, of course, disagrees, and a lawsuit will decide the question, as we reported here.
At a news conference a block away at City Hall, Schroffel said he was "ecstatic" at the outcome and said the historic vote will assure Memorial serves Springs residents for generations to come.
UCH President Rulon Stacey said UCH will leverage the strength of community health care and academic medicine to bring higher quality care to the region. He predicted the cost of care throughout the UCH system will go down because of the health care powerhouse's ability to collaborate and cooperate.
"We will waste no time to earn your trust and prove you have made a truly great decision," he said.
City Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin, who managed a contentious task force to a unanimous recommendation to City Council to choose UCH, credited everyone involved, saying, "We are here tonight because we all worked together. I'm really pleased to be standing here with our new partners in Memorial Hospital."
Asked what the first visible effect will be of today's vote, Schroffel said, "The first thing we want to do is build morale, build a team of physicians and staff at Memorial, and rebuild the place, which is already a strong hospital, raise the bar for quality of health care."
He said new signs won't be mounted at Memorial until the lease becomes effective Oct. 1.
The deal gives the city a $74 million upfront payment, plus $5.6 million per year for 30 years, along with $3 million a year for 40 years to UCCS for the med school. In addition, UCH will provide $185 million for the city to settle with PERA. If it takes less than that, the city keeps the difference; if it costs more, the city will have to dip into its other payments to make it up.
One reporter asked about whether people will be laid off after the six-month guarantee stated in the lease, a matter covered in our story reported weeks ago, which can be found here.
He noted UCH has added 800 jobs in the last five years, and Poudre Valley Health System has added about 1,200; there are no plans for layoffs, he said.
El Paso County Public Health is warning residents that a "wild bat" (as opposed to a pet bat?) was found dead Monday near the sidewalk outside the Starsmore Discovery Center, 2120 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road.
The bat tested positive for rabies.
Although the agency has received no reports that anyone touched the bat, making the likelihood of exposure low, the county is taking steps to find out if anyone has been exposed.
Hence, the following advisory:
People have reported seeing a bat flying during the day and landing on tree trunks near the bridge at the nature center from Saturday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 5. Anyone who may have handled or touched the bat, or learns that a child or pet had contact with the bat Saturday through Monday should contact El Paso County Public Health. Call (719) 578-3220, Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. To reach staff after these hours, please call (719) 339-3230.
Rabies is a fatal disease that can be spread from a bat to a person or pet by a bite or scratch, even if very small or barely noticeable. Any human or pet who may have been bitten or scratched by this bat is at risk for getting rabies. There is medication available for exposed people that will prevent rabies infection. Those who saw the bat or were in the area and had no physical contact are not at risk.
It is estimated that less than 1 percent of bats are infected with rabies. However, bats found on the ground are much more likely to carry rabies (5-18 percent), according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In El Paso County, this is the second bat that has tested positive for rabies in 2012.
To avoid exposure to rabies:
· Never touch a wild bat or any other wild animal. A healthy bat likely will not come near enough to be touched, so a bat that is slow, lying on the ground or that lands on a person could be showing signs of illness. If you can touch the animal, chances are it is sick. Children who find a bat should leave it where it is and tell an adult.
· Do not pick up a bat with your hands, even if you’re wearing gloves. Use a shovel and double trash bags.
· If you are bitten by a bat or if you suspect you’ve been exposed to its saliva, try to contain the bat without touching it, and contact your local animal control agency or health department so the bat can be tested.
· Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.
Here's the city's statement on Suthers' decision, released a little after 5 p.m.:
Proposed Lease of Memorial Health System to UCH Receives Approval from Colorado Attorney General
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has issued an opinion under the Hospital Transfer Act (C.R.S § 6-19-101, et seq.) approving the proposed lease of the Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health. City Attorney Chris Melcher applauded today’s decision from Attorney General Suthers that the City’s Proposed Lease of the Memorial Health System operations to University of Colorado Health is in full compliance with state law, and may now proceed for voter approval. The Attorney General’s office determined that the transaction involving Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs meets the relevant criteria of the Colorado Hospital Transfer Act and may proceed without further review by the Attorney General. The transaction will now be subject to a vote by the residents of Colorado Springs as part of a special election to occur on August 28, 2012.
“The Mayor, City Council, and UCH have worked together diligently over many months to structure a partnership that, if approved, is expected to dramatically improve health care services in our community, and provide a stable and exciting future for Memorial and the doctors, nurses, and staff who serve the patients and their families,” says City Attorney Chris Melcher. “With today’s decision by the Attorney General, the proposed lease of Memorial’s operations to UCH has been definitively cleared to proceed to the voters. Today is an exciting day for the future of our entire community, and we are gratified for a thoughtful and careful review that has confirmed our hard work.”
——- ORIGINAL POST, WEDNESDAY, 3:20 P.M. ——-
Attorney General John Suthers has approved the Memorial Health System lease to University of Colorado Health, his office said in a release issued a short time ago.
DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has issued an opinion under the Hospital Transfer Act (C.R.S § 6-19-101, et seq.) relating to the proposed lease of the Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health.
The Attorney General’s office determined that the transaction involving Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs meets the relevant criteria of the Act and may proceed without further review by the Attorney General. The transaction will now be subject to a vote by the residents of Colorado Springs as part of a special election to occur on August 28, 2012.
To read the opinion, go here.
This Saturday, July 21, marks the first of many health and wellness initiatives offered by the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Every third Saturday of the month, from 10 a.m. to noon, CSFD firefighters, EMTs and paramedics will team up with local "safety net" organizations to offer free blood pressure and blood sugar checks at four local supermarkets.
As explained in a press release, the free screenings will be offered at the following locations:
Community and Public Health Administrator Jeff Martin says that one goal of the initiative is to help people get access to the right care for health and wellness problems. "Almost 80 percent of our calls are medical calls," Martin tells the Indy. "A lot of those calls are low-acuity... that really don't warrant a 911 response, but because people don't always have access to primary care, that's one of their only avenues."
The initiative aims to connect folks with organizations that will help them access primary care, and also includes on-site dietitians to recommend affordable dietary solutions, thereby nipping some chronic health issues in the bud. "We're trying to take a proactive approach to getting more people in our community connected to primary care," says Martin. "The truth of the matter is that if you're cycling in and out of the emergency room, you're not going to get the best care."
Partner organizations include Mission Medical, SET Family Medical Clinics, Open Bible Medical Clinic, Peak Vista Community Clinics and the Dream Center. Fire trucks will be stationed at the events — but will remain on-call, says Martin.
SET Family Medial Clinics also will be partnering with the CSFD for another series of free screenings, which will be offered at the CSFD Fire Station #8 (3737 Airport Road), every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, beginning Aug. 7.
We just received this e-mail from Stephannie Finley, explaining how John Suthers' name got posted without his permission. When she says it was brought to their attention yesterday, that probably came from Suthers' communications director. We contacted her, raising the question of Suthers supporting an issue involving a lease he was reviewing as attorney general under the Hospital Transfer Act.
The mistake was made by the guy who constructed our web-site. We gave him a list of people we contacted who gave us permission to use their name; one column on the list showed the person we called — and in some instances that also included their spouse — and the other column showed who said “yes”. There were three instances where we were given permission to use a name, but not their spouses’ name, and the web-site guy pulled the names off the wrong column. It was brought to our attention late yesterday and was corrected immediately this morning. I apologize to John for the mistake, as well as the other two. Everybody on the web-site gave us express permission — either by signing a card or sending us an e-mail — to use their name.
—————————————-ORIGINAL POST WED., JULY 18, 3:04 P.M.——————————————
Colorado Attorney John Suthers is analyzing the lease of city-owned Memorial Health System to be sure it conforms to state law and satisfies the Hospital Transfer Act.
So it was a little shocking to see he was listed as a supporter on the website of the committee, called "Great City. Great Care,"which is promoting a "yes" vote on the measure.
We asked the AG's office about that. Here's the response we received from communications director Carolyn Tyler:
Mr. Suthers did not give permission for his name to be used as a supporter of the ballot measure. In fact, once you brought this to our attention, we had his name removed from Great City, Great Care Coalition’s website. Only his wife’s name remains.
As the Attorney General of Colorado, Mr. Suthers has the statutory responsibility to review the lease. There is no conflict of interest that would prevent him from performing that responsibility.
Which makes you wonder: Why would this committee simply list the attorney general's name as a supporter without checking first, and how many others were listed on the website without being asked?
We've submitted those questions to Great City. Great Care organizer Stephannie Finley, who used to work for the Chamber of Commerce here and now works at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
If and when we hear from her, we'll update.
The city is asking voters to weigh in on a 40-year lease of Memorial to the University of Colorado Health System. The election is August 28.
And speaking of the election, Mayor Steve Bach's spokeswoman Cindy Aubrey says the city needs to figure out a way for the folks who were burned out of their homes in Mountain Shadows to get ballots. The election will be conducted by mail, and it's illegal for mail ballots to be forwarded to another address.
We'll keep you posted when Aubrey comes up with a plan. Please note that the City Clerk's website still says nothing about how to register for the special election. Heck, it doesn't even mention there will be a special election. What's up with that?
El Paso County Public Health has promoted Jill Law to the position of county public health director. She had been the interim public health director since March 2012, when executive director Kandi Buckland retired.
“Jill's challenge is to keep current level of services and funding,” explains Susan Wheelan, public health communication director.
The challenge will be quite different for the department's other new hire, medical director Dr. Bill Letson: In May alone, 41 cases of communicable diseases were reported and investigated. They ranged from salmonella and viral meningitis to varicella. In addition, two cases of active tuberculosis were suspected.
Letson has held several director positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the areas of epidemiology and immunization.
More details on Letson and Law's experience are available in the release below:
El Paso County Public Health
Contact: Danielle Oller, Communication Specialist
(719) 575-8985 office; (719) 465-6186 cell
July 16, 2012
El Paso County Board of Health Appoints Director, Welcomes New Medical Director
El Paso County, CO - The El Paso County Board of Health on Monday unanimously appointed Jill Law to the position of El Paso County Public Health Director, and welcomed Dr. Bill Letson as the agency’s Medical Director.
Both Law and Letson come to their new roles with decades of public health experience.
Law has served as the interim public health director since March 2012 following the retirement of executive director Kandi Buckland. Law received her registered nurse degree from Beth-El College of Nursing at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Law also has a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Phoenix. She previously served as the agency’s division director of health services, overseeing six departments and was the division director of clinical and health services. Prior to joining El Paso County Public Health in 1995, she worked at Cedar Springs Psychiatric Unit and the Penrose Hospital Surgical Unit.
In addition to her years of clinical expertise, throughout her 17 years with El Paso County Public Health Law has held leadership roles in the areas of strategic planning, policy development, program evaluation, coalition and community organization, budget and finance, emergency preparedness, marketing, agency management and resource development.
Dr. G. William (Bill) Letson has dedicated his career to research and implementation activities in public health, pediatrics and infectious diseases. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder; a master’s degree in zoology from Colorado State University; and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. He has been published widely and served several faculty appointments.
From 2011 to 2012, he worked as a global public health consultant, serving as International Vaccine Institute Vaccinology Faculty, and is a member of the Independent Review Committee for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations. Previously, Dr. Letson was Deputy Director of Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI) and Director of Vaccine Evaluation Program, PDVI/International Vaccine Institute in Seoul Korea, a post he held for four and a half years.
Dr. Letson has held several director positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the areas of epidemiology and immunization. In addition, he served as the Wyoming’s State Health Officer and Director of their Maternal Child Health program and Maternal Child Health Consultant/Epidemiologist at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
University of Colorado Hospital, a part of University of Colorado Health, is tops in the nation in several treatment areas, according to a press release.
University of Colorado Health is an organization recently formed to include Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland and University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora.
Colorado Springs voters will decide Aug. 28 in a mail-ballot election whether to lease city-owned Memorial Health System to UCH. Read more about the "vote yes" effort here.
AURORA, Colo. (July 17, 2012) — U.S. News and World Report ranks five specialties at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) as among the best in the nation including a #1 ranking for the hospital’s respiratory care. The U.S. News Best Hospitals report also ranks UCH as the best hospital in Colorado and the best in the Denver Metro area.
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. (See rankings, below) UCH shares the honor of having the country’s best respiratory care with National Jewish Health.
UCH — currently the top performing academic hospital in the nation for quality and safety — is among only a handful of hospitals in the nation to rank nationally in multiple specialties.
“We’re thrilled as well as humbled,” said John Harney, the hospital’s president and CEO. “We’ve been ranked by the magazine for 18 consecutive years, but the recognition our physicians, nurses and staff receive for their great work is still exciting.”
UCH, moreover, is now part of University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), the new health care system that includes Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. U.S. News recognized Poudre Valley Hospital as #5 in the state and Medical Center of the Rockies as #13 in Colorado.
“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.”
Last fall, University HealthSystems Consortium scored University of Colorado Hospital as the #1 performing academic hospital in quality. It was what Schroffel called at the time “our industry’s Academy Award,” putting the hospital solidly in the company of the biggest international names in health care.
U.S. News examined almost 5,000 hospitals across the nation including 30 in the Denver metro area to determine the best among 16 adult specialties. Best Hospitals was created more than 20 years ago to identify hospitals exceptionally skilled in handling the most difficult cases, and this is the first year U.S. News has compiled state-wide rankings.
UCH is nationally ranked by U.S. News in five specialties:
· Pulmonology (1st)
· Kidney disorders (42nd)
· Rheumatology (17th)
· Diabetes & endocrinology (48th)
· Cancer (33rd)
U.S. News recognizes UCH in nine other high-performing specialties:
· Cardiology & Heart Surgery
· Ear, Nose & Throat
· Neurology & Neurosurgery
For the full list of Colorado hospital rankings visit www.usnews.com/hospitals.
In addition, UCH has announced another partner is coming into its fold, saying this in a press release:
University of Colorado Health (UCHealth) will soon begin negotiating a management agreement with Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyoming. The Ivinson board of directors voted unanimously to move forward with negotiations last Thursday.
This management agreement will allow UCHealth to expand Ivinson's resources and establish it as a regional hub for quality care.
"Ivinson is a great fit with our new system, as its patient centered philosophy, dedication to quality and values are all very much in line with those of the University of Colorado Hospital and Poudre Valley Health System," said Rulon Stacey, president of University of Colorado Health. "We are looking forward to connecting with the Laramie-area community and health care workers at Ivinson."
A campaign to urge Colorado Springs residents to support a lease of city-owned Memorial Health System is under way, as we reported in this story about the ballot measure.
The mail-ballot election takes place Aug. 28, when voters will decide whether to OK a 40-year lease of Memorial's assets to the University of Colorado Health System in exchange for $259 million up front, $5.6 million a year plus a revenue-sharing program, an average of $28 million a year for capital improvements, and $3 million a year for 30 years to establish a medical school at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).
The "Great City. Great Care" committee is being headed by Stephannie Finley of Monument, who had served as president of Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs and Policy Division.
Since April, Finley has been the executive director of UCCS's advocacy and partnerships under its University Advancement Division, a part-time position for which she's paid $57,500 annually.
Which could pose a problem if she uses university time to promote the Memorial issue, because the Fair Campaign Practices Act forbids use of public funds, including public personnel, to promote or oppose a ballot measure.
No problem, Finley tells us in an e-mail. Here's her explanation for how she will juggle both jobs without any cross-over into illegal territory:
I have worked for the taxpayer much of my career, so I have a heightened sensitivity about keeping my time accounted for in this process. I have drawn a bright line between my part time work with the University and the campaign, both with time and resources. I have separate phones, separate email accounts, and I work at a coffee shop, my home, or Fed Ex when I am working for the campaign. I work 1/2 time for UCCS and 1/2 time for the campaign and diligently mark off the time each week to account for the time I need to spend doing my UCCS job. With modern technology, I am able to use my personal iPad and iPhone for the campaign. I don't take campaign calls during UCCS time, instead I focus on partnership and advocacy for the University. I just stay focused on the job at hand and make sure they don't bleed into each other.
So far, the committee hasn't filed any campaign finance reports, so it's unknown how much money has been spent, but a mailer landed in mail boxes this week. The talking points:
1. This plan will pump $1.9 billion into the local economy, which will ensure the long-term financial future of Memorial Hospital.
2. Memorial Hospital will be managed by and grow with a dynamic new health care partnership offering a higher level of care for all who live here.
3. As a not-for-profit, University of Colorado Health is well suited to help Memorial Hospital provide the highest level of care for people in need.
4. The new hospital partnership will result in a higher level of care for our military families and TRICARE beneficiaries.
5. The plan allows for a Colorado Springs branch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine that will attract top doctors and medical students.
6. Nationally renowned Children's Hospital Colorado will manage pediatric care at Memorial Hospital.
Note that there's no claim the city and its residents will maintain local control, which they most certainly will not. There will be a local board, but it will be selected with approval from UCH and will have only limited authority over local operations. (See the link above.) All the big decisions will be made by UCH.
For information on the campaign, see greatcitygreatcare.com.
Colorado Springs officials and those with the University of Colorado Health System signed a lease Monday for city-owned Memorial Health System.
The lease signing paves the way for an Aug. 28 special election for voters to decide whether to lease a hospital the city has owned since the 1940s. If the measure passes, UCH would take control on Oct. 1.
Here's UCH's release:
Today the University of Colorado Health (UCHealth) and the City of Colorado Springs signed the lease for Memorial Health System (MHS), the last step before voters mark their ballots in an August 28th mail-in election.
Signing the lease now gives voters the assurance that both UCHealth and the city are committed to this important partnership, and it moves the process along as UCHealth looks to open the doors on a new chapter at MHS starting October first.
"This is an exciting time, and I think my entire team is excited," said Bruce Schroffel, CEO of University of Colorado Health. "I do spend a good part of my life down here now, and I'll continue to spend time with Memorial Hospital's staff and physicians as we move forward toward this important transition."
"I think this is the most significant development in health care in our state," said Rulon Stacey, president of University of Colorado Health. "We will be the largest health care system in the state, and we're going to develop the very best health care in the country right here in Colorado."
Even as they signed the lease, leaders from both UCHealth and the city said their thoughts remain with the firefighters and residents who have been incredibly impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire, the most destructive wildfire in our state's history.
"For the next week, the city's thoughts and prayers will be focused on the Mountain Shadows neighborhood and all our residents there, but after that I think we'll turn more of our focus to the election and what this lease will mean to our city," said Colorado Springs City Attorney Chris Melcher.
Last week, University of Colorado Health and Children's Hospital Colorado announced that each organization was giving $25,000 to the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross to help firefighters and residents. Supplies and staff are also ready to help MHS should the hospital need assistance.
"Many of our staff and patients are directly affected by these serious and frightening Colorado wildfires," said UCHealth CEO Bruce Schroffel. "Whether the fires are burning in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs or anywhere else along the Front Range, we consider this our community, and the University of Colorado Health is honored to help in any way possible."
Colorado Springs voters will decide Aug. 28 whether to lease city-owned Memorial Health System.
Here's the ballot measure approved today by City Council on an 8-0 vote. Tim Leigh didn't vote because he came under a pre-evacuation notice due to the Waldo Canyon Fire during the meeting:
“Shall the City of Colorado Springs be authorized to lease the Memorial Health System to the University of Colorado Health system pursuant to the terms and conditions approved by City Council on June 27, 2012, as set forth in Resolution No. 89-12, and to take all other actions necessary to accomplish this purpose.”
Council also voted to set up a foundation to oversee the proceeds of the lease, which will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars during the 40-year term. Here's the resolution governing the foundation.
RESOLUTION NO. 92-12
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, APPROVING A PROPOSED CITY-CONTROLLED FOUNDATION FOR THE SEGREGATION, OVERSIGHT, AND MANAGEMENT OF FUNDS TO BE RECEIVED FROM THE PROPOSED MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM OPERATING LEASE AGREEMENT AND THE INTEGRATION AND AFFILIATION AGREEMENT WITH UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO HEALTH SYSTEM.
WHEREAS, since 1949, the City of Colorado Springs has owned and operated Memorial Health System, dedicated to being a regional leader in providing high quality healthcare services to all citizens; and,
WHEREAS, City Council carefully considered the option of leasing the assets of Memorial Health System to an outside independent operator to ensure provision of the best possible healthcare for the entire community; and,
WHEREAS, City Council previously determined that it is in the best interests of the public health, safety and welfare of the City and its residents to consider proposals from potential independent strategic partners that contemplate independent operation and management of Memorial Health System through an arrangement in which the City would lease the Memorial Health System facilities and transfer its operating assets to a third-party; and,
WHEREAS, City Council authorized and created the Memorial Health System Task Force in August 2011 comprised of Council members and citizens, which in turn issued a Confidential Descriptive Memorandum and Request for Proposals dated October 17, 2011, and said Task Force carefully reviewed and considered all proposals received there from; and,
WHEREAS, City Council in January 2012 accepted the recommendation of the Memorial Health System Task Force, and selected the University of Colorado Health system as the exclusive bidder to be considered as an independent strategic partner with the Memorial Health System and to pursue negotiations of an operating lease agreement between the City, and the University of Colorado Health system for the independent operation and management of the Memorial Health System through an arrangement in which the City would lease the Memorial Health System facilities and transfer its operating assets to the University of Colorado Health system and related parties; and,
WHEREAS, City Council and the City Attorney have completed negotiations with the University of Colorado Health system for the independent operation and management of the Memorial Health System through a lease of the Memorial Health
System facilities and the transfer of its operating assets, and said negotiations have now produced a Health System Operating Lease Agreement and an Integration and Affiliation Agreement between the City, and the University of Colorado Health system and related parties.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS:
Section 1. In the event the voters approve on August 28, 2012 the agreements and transactions contemplated by Resolution No. 89-12, City Council hereby authorizes and directs the City Attorney and City Staff to form and create a City controlled non-profit public foundation (the “City Health Foundation”) as provided for under IRS Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a). The purpose of the City Health Foundation shall be to receive, hold, and manage in perpetuity all funds and monies received pursuant to the aforementioned agreements and transactions approved by City Council on June 27, 2012, and as set forth in Resolution No. 89-12.
Section 2. City Council authorizes and directs that all funds and monies received pursuant to the aforementioned agreements, beginning on October 1, 2012 and continuing thereafter for the full term of such agreements, and which are not held in a City segregated account for other purposes of the aforementioned agreements, shall be placed directly into the City Health Foundation. It is further intended that all such funds and monies shall include but not be limited to any initial payments made to the City, any annual or monthly lease payments made to the City, any annual margin surplus payments made to the City, any funds remaining in City segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any potential PERA obligations of Memorial Health System, any funds remaining in City segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any bonds, indebtedness, or other financial obligations of Memorial Health System, and/or any funds remaining in segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any outstanding contingent liability obligations or sums owed for breach of any of the aforementioned agreements.
Section 3. City Council hereby directs that the mission of the City Health Foundation be focused solely and exclusively on health issues in the City of Colorado Springs, and that the corpus of the funds contained in such foundation may not be distributed, spent, transferred, or otherwise removed from the City Health Foundation without a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, or eight (8) council members if the Mayor shall not agree, and any grant or distribution from the City Health Foundation shall only be made from income of the corpus and only pursuant to the mission of the City Health Foundation, save that its By-Laws (the “Bylaws”) may provide for some portion of the income of the corpus to be used for administrative or personnel expenses.
Section 4. The City Health Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws shall be approved by seven (7) council members and the Mayor. The City Health
Foundation shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, comprised of nine (9) member Trustees, which Trustees shall be nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by a majority of the City Council members. All Trustees of the City Health Foundation shall be residents of the City of Colorado Springs and shall have such other qualifications as set forth in the By-Laws. Any single Trustee of the City Health Foundation, or the entire Board of Trustees of the City Health Foundation may be removed at any time by a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, or by eight (8) council members if the Mayor shall not agree.
Section 5. The City Council shall be responsible for close oversight of the operations of the City Health Foundation, to include approval of any investment policy adopted by the Foundation, approval of the retention of any investment advisor by the City Health Foundation, and approval of policies and guidelines governing any grants and distributions of the income of the City Health Foundation.
Section 6. The Board of Trustees of the City Health Foundation may nominate a Chief Executive Officer, President, Executive Director, or other such full time administrative executive to oversee the City Health Foundation, as it may choose, but any such individual must be approved by a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, and any employment agreement or compensation agreement of any type whatsoever must be approved in like manner.
DATED at Colorado Springs, Colorado, this 27th day of June, 2012.
Councilor Lisa Czeladtko wrote the following e-mail before the meeting to her colleagues.
This fire has stirred up quite a bit of emotionalism from the citizens. See below Laura's email. Several of our colleagues are homeless. The administrative staff that we have to work with on this is preoccupied with other priorities. I did meet with the mayor on Friday when Chris and him squeezed us all in at the last minute( prior to fire). I also agree that 4 of 5 resolutions seem fine except foundation one. For a body who supports public input, it seems like we are taking advantage of knowing how distracted and consumed by the current crisis our community is and slipping it by them. Maybe thats the intention. It's not a regularly scheduled Council meeting, and it's posting was surely lost in the fire news. I may be alone on this but it appears we are taking advantage of the situation to get things done we don't want public input on and rushing it thru. We know it isnt quick because of the time you all have worked on this but it is quick in terms of when we have seen the final resolutions, it is quick in time we have let the public know what the resolutions are saying, it is quick in declaring a resolution for the establishment of a health foundation with no real prior discussion amongst us. I think this deadline given is another way to force Council to react and we will not be perceived as handling this well. I know my residents, I know the media, I know how this looks. Thanks you.
By the way, Leigh isn't the only one caught up by the fire. Council members Scott Hente, Val Snider, Jan Martin and Merv Bennett all have been evacuated, as has City Attorney Chris Melcher.
Hente and Snider's homes are located in the areas that burned on the west side of the Springs, but neither has received word on the extent of the damage, says Council liaison Aimee Cox.
AspenPointe, a leading Colorado Springs provider of healthcare for mental and family health, is accepting nominations for this year's Hero of Mental Health Award. It's looking for the names of community folks "who have elevated themselves above their peers in efforts related to mental health, substance abuse and whole-person wellness."
In addition to presentation of the award, the luncheon will feature keynote speaker, prolific mountaineer and bestselling author Ed Viesturs. Viesturs was the first American to scale the 14 tallest peaks on the planet; he was the fifth person ever to do it without supplemental oxygen. His latest of three books chronicling his life and climbs hit shelves late last year.
"His message of overcoming and conquering obstacles in the face of adversity resonates well with many people out there," says AspenPointe CEO and president Morris Roth.
Nominations for the Hero of Mental Health Award — given previously to the likes of former Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, U.S. Army Major Gen. Mark Graham and his wife Carol, and suicide prevention activist Dr. Barry Koch — can be made online, via AspenPointe's convenient form.
The entire AspenPointe release, which includes nomination guidelines and deadlines, can be found after the jump.
Brian Newsome, Memorial Health System spokesperson contacted us this afternoon to clarify that the $400,000 cost for the services provided to U.S. athletes is in-kind, and services will be provided annually in an amount up to that figure. We also have removed a quote from the original post.
——————ORIGINAL POST, 2:58 P.M. THURSDAY——————
It's official. The U.S. Olympic Committee has selected Memorial Health System as the local care provider for Team USA athletes who reside at the Colorado Springs training center. The cost of the relationship is $400,000 per year.
“This is not gonna be a significant financial burden on the organization,” said Mike Scialdone, Memorial interim CEO, at a media event yesterday.
The agreement makes Memorial the provider of general and specialized medical care for elite athletes, as well as medical support for events hosted by USOC. Athletes will have access to specialty physicians, Memorial’s concussion clinic, holistic therapies and emergency care.
“We are honored that the U.S. Olympic Committee has entrusted us with the care of the amazing athletes that train here in Colorado Springs, whose good health is critical not only for their own success and dreams, but also for the country’s standing on the stage,” Scialdone said in a release.
Doctor Bill Moreau, USOC managing director hopes that Olympic and Paralympic athletes will make their dreams come true with the medical care they receive.
“The men and the women at Memorial are terrific medical providers and we’re grateful that their services will be available to some of the amazing athletes that come through our Olympic Training Center here in Colorado Springs,” he said.
Depending on events, 200 to 500 athletes reside at the Springs training center. Only a few of them will have access to the services according to criteria agreeing parties will define.
Lately there's been some apocalyptic brouhaha about the supposedly proto-totalitarian implications of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary beverages at certain establishments. Apparently, Bloomberg's top-down (and admittedly farcical) insistence on a healthy public slides us all a little further down that slippery slope toward
Hell some Big Government Nanny State — one which also happens to include the twin evils of affordable health care and subsidized birth control. Because New York's Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Wall Street groupie-"independent" mayor represents the hardline of 'socialist' ideological dogma, right? Right?
It's called "The Bean Tube Experiment", and it's billed as a partnership between LiveWell Colorado and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill. The obesity-battling nonprofit and the hummus and falafel-peddling regional restaurant chain are erecting said tubes across the state, to "raise awareness about the benefits of healthy living and reward Colorado residents for making an effort to eat and live healthier."
After reviewing the information, however, we've come to have some doubts as to the real purpose of these strange, synthetic structures filled with their stale seeds.
A "Fact Sheet" (read: definitely not a corporate press release) detailing the "Experiment" (read: some cutting-edge, scientifickey, nutritional thing — definitely not a thinly-veiled corporate ad campaign) says the two organizations are "encouraging their fans and supporters to hit the streets in search of the bean tubes." Tubes carry "wellness messages" and QR codes (those scary, ubiquitous iPhone barcode things) that link to the Bean Tube Experiment website, where tube-scanners can find blogs from each organization, and — you guessed it — a mysterious, mouth-watering "Garbanzo offer."
No doubt, hordes of Coloradans (the campaign prefers the archaic but cuter "Coloradoans") hip with Garbanzo are already rushing to "win" this oh-so well-intentioned scavenger hunt.
The bean tubes can be found at various locations (hint: there's one at Penrose Library) around the Springs for the next three weeks, after which the Experiment will be conducted in some other Colorado city. For more information, check out Garbanzo's website, which frantically insists on the "authenticity" of their products, bombards viewers with pastels and plastic cuteness, and includes a nutritional info for their entire menu (it turns out there's a reason they didn't fill the tubes with chicken shwarma.)
Additionally, the legume obelisks' website includes LiveWell Colorado's blog, the most recent entry of which, strangely enough, is about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sugary beverages!
To hell with good intentions, I guess. Or something.
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, ceci beans, chana, sanagalu Indian peas, and Bengal grams, are a high-protein legume. They are thought to have been cultivated by humans since prehistory; India and Pakistan currently lead in global garbanzo production.
Discrimination, among other factors, has long complicated healthy living for the LGBT community. A solution is now on the state agenda. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released its first strategic plan for the "health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Coloradans" yesterday.
The 44-page plan aims to eliminate obstacles that can prevent the Colorado LGBT population from getting health information, services and care. "Invisible: The State of LGBT Health in Colorado," research conducted by One Colorado Education Fund, states, "Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported that their sexual orientation has kept them from seeking physical health or mental health services," hesitation that can lead to the avoidance of care altogether.
"One of the most important things that we know and that I see here with young people is that they are afraid to come out and therefore have conversations with their doctors about what's going on with them," says Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of Inside Out Youth Services. "Most health providers do not take the step to help all families feel included in their services."
She adds that the plan can change that, action that will make LGBT people feel more comfortable in coming out to their health providers. "It is really encouraging that the State of Colorado at this level of the state health department is taking a step to make a really at-risk population visible, and you can't get the help that you need, or pass the laws that are required or get fair treatment if you're invisible. That's the primary thing that I think maybe that will help make happen — to increase the visibility that there is a problem."
The plan, which you can read here, has the following goals:
· Build competent and LGBT-affirming prevention, early
intervention, and health care services accessible throughout Colorado.
· Engage LGBT Coloradans and community organizations to shift social patterns toward healthier living and improve the health and wellness systems that serve their communities.
· Ensure LGBT-affirming policies and political actions strengthen individual and community partnerships to advance mutual aspirations.
· Improve Colorado LGBT-specific data and research to inform about health outcomes.