Aspen Valley Hospital celebrates 125 years in community | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Valley Hospital celebrates 125 years in community

The original Citizens’ Hospital shortly after it was constructed in 1891.

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

This year marks Aspen Valley Hospital's 125th year of service in the community.

As we launch into 2016, I wanted to take this first column of the New Year to reflect on Aspen Valley Hospital's history, as this year marks its 125th year of service to the community. In 1889, spearheaded by community need and with the Citizens' Hospital Committee of Pitkin County leading the charge, the wheels were set in motion to construct a modern hospital in Aspen. Fundraising efforts were immediately successful. However, even with some significant lead gifts to the cause, half of the funds still needed to be raised. That led to the launch of an intensive campaign based on the philosophy that "…no man who has employment should fail to give a day's wages."

The Citizens’ Hospital Committee of Pitkin County launched the original campaign to build a hospital in Aspen. The Committee turned to the community with a message of “...no man who has employment should fail to give a day’s wages.” With that broad-base support, the Citizens’ Hospital opened its doors in 1891.

While the hospital and its philanthropy efforts have evolved greatly from the early beginnings, two things have remained constant: Aspen Valley Hospital will continue to meet the growing and complex healthcare needs of our community and in order to do that, we will once again turn to our community for support.

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Today, Aspen Valley Hospital blends the best of two worlds — the warmth and friendliness of a small town hospital and the technical expertise of a major medical center. Since its inception, the hospital has been committed to its mission: to deliver extraordinary healthcare in an environment of excellence, compassion and trust. The hospital consistently earns high marks from patients and independent rating agencies. In fact, Aspen Valley Hospital has been named a top 100 critical access hospital multiple times and continues to rank in the top 5% of hospitals throughout the nation for patient satisfaction. But to maintain the commitment to delivering extraordinary care in an ever-evolving healthcare environment, the hospital must have the physical facilities to match the caliber of its staff and technology.

Philanthropic support for the project through a dedicated capital campaign has been very successful to date. A blend of funding for the project through bonds, hospital equity, and philanthropy has allowed progress to move forward at an unprecedented pace. With $36 million raised as of this writing, we have been able to move seamlessly into the third phase of construction — a phase that houses emergency, trauma, diagnostic imaging, and surgical services. We anticipate opening the doors on these new clinical areas by the end of 2016. Indeed, this is going to be an extraordinary year!

Progressive and life-saving care has been the hallmark of Aspen Valley Hospital since it opened its doors in 1891. The community has been there every step of the way. This is your community hospital and there has never been a more critical time to make a much-needed investment in the hospital's future. You have an opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary project – a history making effort that will ultimately shape not only the future of the hospital, but also the future of the entire community.

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