| AspenTimes.com

Former Eagle County commissioner announces run for Colorado state senate seat

Arn Menconi, who served two terms as an Eagle County commissioner and has spent 40 years in area businesses and nonprofits, announced Wednesday he is running for District 8 seat in the Colorado state Senate to challenge Carbondale Republican Bob Rankin.

Menconi, a Democrat, said he decided to run “after witnessing Bernie Sanders’ big success in the Colorado Primary, that over 93% of Coloradans support the Green New Deal, the urgent need for universal health care and that inequality is growing at faster and faster rates.”

He served as an Eagle County commissioner from 2001 to 2009, and in a news release announcing his campaign, Menconi said his history in the area and concerns for the climate, water issues and health care, among other issues, make him a solid challenger to Rankin.

“Senate District 8 represents much of the origins of the Colorado River. I would run for state Senate because I don’t want a climate-denier Republican like Bob Rankin representing one of the most coveted places on Earth,” Menconi said in his announcement. “I want to fight to help our future generations for a sustainable future not make is harder for them. I have been working in the mountain ranges of the mouth of the Colorado River for 30 years.”

District 8 represents Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties in the state Senate. No other Democrats have announced their intention to run for the seat. The Colorado primary is June 30.

Rankin, who held in the state House of Representatives District 57 seat from 2013 to 2019, was appointed to the senate seat in January 2019 after Randy Baumgardner retired before his term finished.

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation celebrates a great summer

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content was brought to you by Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Left to Right: AVH Foundation Board Chair, John Sarpa; AVH CEO, Dave Ressler; AVHF President and CEO, Deborah Breen; and AVH cardiologists Dr. Joseph Schuller and Dr. Gordon Gerson attend AVHF’s annual donor appreciation event, The Summer Soirée on July 9.
Courtesy of AVHF

Summer Soirée showcases cardiology services

AVHF presented an informative summer cocktail party at the Little Nell with long-time community cardiologist, Dr. Gordon Gerson, and his new partner, cardiovascular disease specialist and cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Joseph Schuller, as keynote speakers. With a crowd of over 150 donors and special friends on hand, the dynamic duo discussed the cardiology services currently available at AVH and unveiled new interventional cardiology services now managed by Dr. Schuller.  Both Dr. Schuller and Dr. Gerson are seeing patients at the Hospital campus, as well as in Basalt at 234 E. Cody Lane. Appointments can be made by calling 970.544.7388.

Summer Polo benefit tops $600,000 in proceeds!

Thanks to a sold-out crowd and a generous group of sponsors, the Summer Polo benefit on August 11th hosted by Aspen Valley Polo Club to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation raised over $600,000! Heartfelt thanks to Melissa & Marc Ganzi, Aspen Valley Polo Club, and to all who sponsored this wonderful event!

Courtesy of AVHF

The lavish field-side event included an elegant tent with both Chukker Lounge and VIP seating. Food was exquisitely prepared and presented by Caribou Club Catering of Aspen, and guests also enjoyed a roving Beverly Hills Caviar cart with Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Woody Creek Mint Juleps and Whispering Angel Rosé flowing throughout the day. “What a great day here at the Club,” Marc Ganzi said about the event. “It looks like we raised a lot of money for a great cause. This is what it’s all about.”

Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar is Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation’s signature fundraising event, which has raised over $1.6 million in the past three years to fund priority projects and programs at Aspen Valley Hospital.

Fresh & Healthy Picnic welcomes friends from across the valley

The community turned out for a family-friendly celebration at Aspen Valley Hospital’s Midvalley campus on Sunday, September 8. Bringing visibility to AVH’s Midvalley Primary Care Clinic, OrthoAspen Offices, Midvalley Imaging and Surgery Center, and other services available at this campus, the fresh and healthy barbecue was well received by friends and neighbors!

Doug Pearson; AVH Foundation Development Officer, Emily Kay; Dr. Leelee von Stade; and Dr. Chris Roseberry enjoy the picnic.
Courtesy of AVHF

The delicious menu was prepared by AVH’s award-winning nutritional team, and entertainment was provided by local bluegrass favorite, Timbermill. Dr. Chris Roseberry, AVH’s Trauma Director, was on hand to provide education on the use of helmets. Dr. Leelee von Stade, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Karen Locke and Dr. Michael Plachta, two of AVH’s new primary care physicians, were also on hand to meet and greet community members.

Clearly, it was a very busy summer and all of us at AVH Foundation remain honored and humbled by the overwhelming support shown to us by our community. Be sure to save the date for our next big shindig – December 5th from 3-5pm at Limelight Hotel Snowmass as we celebrate the opening of our new Snowmass Clinic at Base Village!

AVH’s Snowmass Medical Care Clinic to open year-round in June

Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) owns and operates the Snowmass Medical Care Clinic at the base of Snowmass Mountain. Exciting plans are in the works, starting with the shift from being open only during the ski season to operating year-round. Starting on June 22, the Clinic will operate seven days a week from 8:30am – 4:30pm and will take walk-in patients. No appointment is needed.

The Clinic is staffed with a physician trained in emergency medicine, as well as nurses, EMTs, x-ray technologists and physical therapists. Diagnostic capabilities are available on-site and include x-rays and limited laboratory services.

Operated and billed as an outpatient department of Aspen Valley Hospital, the Clinic treats a variety of cases, including injuries, illnesses, colds, flu, high altitude sickness, fractures, lacerations and other urgent care needs. As injuries and ailments are evaluated, there is the full back up and support of Aspen Valley Hospital’s ER and Level III Trauma Center just a few miles away in Aspen, with access to Aspen Ambulance for emergency transports if necessary.

Clinic plans to relocate to new space in November

As Snowmass Village continues to see growth of both full-time and seasonal residents as well as increased tourism traffic, AVH has responded by allocating more resources to this important Clinic. During the operating months of January through mid-April, plus November and December, the Clinic treated 2,372 patients. Improving access to healthcare locally is a strong focus of AVH’s ongoing strategic plan. The presence of a full-time medical clinic will better serve the people who work, live in and visit Snowmass Village.

Construction has also commenced on a brand new and greatly improved space in Building 8 within the new Base Village. This state-of-the-art expanded location will improve access for patients, ski patrol, and ambulances, and will have dedicated parking. These were all key factors in the Hospital’s decision to invest $3.5 million into this project.

As Aspen Valley Hospital continues to invest in improving access to care, the incredible philanthropic support from the community continues to support these kinds of projects and helps to accelerate the pace of progress. For more information on supporting the Snowmass Medical Care Clinic, please contact Deborah Breen at 970.544.1302.

Aspen Valley Hospital flips for its employees

The American Hospital Association began celebrating National Hospital Week more than 90 years ago to “celebrate the history, technology and dedicated professionals” in hospitals. Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) celebrated National Hospital Week with staff last week, kicking off the festivities with the administrative team arriving at the crack of dawn to serve up a pancake breakfast to employees – allowing them to personally thank both the staff coming off shift and the staff coming on shift. Other activities during the week included snacks and games on the front lawn of the Hospital, various national speakers presenting on relevant topics, 10-minute chair massages, ice cream socials, and a walk around the campus with the Hospital’s CEO, Dave Ressler. All of these activities were designed to be fun and festive and to acknowledge the significant investment of time and talent AVH staff members bring to patients and their loved ones.  

“Our employees define AVH, along with our physicians, as the caring organization that our community has come to expect from AVH,” says Ressler. “Operating 24/7, 365 days a year is something that is only possible because of the dedication of our team. Every day we witness so many people doing extraordinary work, and with the community’s support, we strive to provide our staff with the resources and technologies they need. During National Hospital Week, it’s our collective opportunity to demonstrate to staff how valued they are in a fun and visible way. I applaud the 90-year tradition of National Hospital Week. It is healthcare workers that we turn to in times of vulnerability and our greatest need, and with whom we entrust our care. In my mind, healthcare is among the most noble of professions.”   

AVH employs over 500 people from around the Roaring Fork Valley who serve in a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles. The Hospital strives to be an “employer of choice,” offering competitive wages and a vast array of benefits, from health insurance plans, to paid time off, to tuition reimbursement and paid time for volunteer service in the community. AVH also promotes a work-life balance, embracing the Aspen idea of mind, body and spirit through the Evolve Wellbeing program.  All of this has resulted in recruitment of top-flight staff, lower than average turnover, and high employee engagement. In addition, incredible care has also inspired generous support. Consequently, AVH staff can take great pride in the Hospital Foundation’s success in raising nearly $50 million dollars since its formation in 2012. This kind of support only comes as a result of these wonderful men and women who care and who are making a difference in the lives they touch.

Such a dedicated team is what makes AVH so special. Appreciation is shared throughout the year, and this special week gives us an opportunity to have some fun and take a moment to appreciate just how valued our staff are.

Aspen Valley Hospital cuts the ribbon on new clinics

When Dr. Heather and Dr. Mike Murphy were recruited by Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) to join its growing network of providers in early 2017, the community quickly learned they were something special. Dr. Heather is a board-certified otolaryngologist (specialist in care of the ear, nose, and throat), and offers services to both adults and children ranging from chronic sinusitis, to problems of the ear, voice disorders, head and neck surgery, the insertion of ear tubes, care of tonsils and adenoids and treats many other common and more complex conditions. Dr. Mike is a board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist who also treats people of all ages with conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes. In addition to comprehensive ophthalmology care, he also offers cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the eyelids, trauma care of the eyelids and bones of the eye socket, and treatment of blocked tear ducts.

This dynamic husband and wife duo have grown their practices tremendously over the past two years, and they now see over 3,700 patients annually, far outpacing expectations. In fact, the Drs. Murphy have already outgrown their current space, which has led to the construction of new offices on the Hospital campus, accommodating both patient and practitioner needs. To celebrate, a ribbon cutting will be held tomorrow, followed by tours of the new clinical area and a “meet and greet” with both doctors and their teams.

These are the kinds of projects that are fueled by need, and made possible by generous support. Three of the four phases of the Master Facilities Plan have now been completed, and the fourth and final phase of the project is 100% dependent on philanthropy. With $13.5 million remaining to be raised, the Foundation’s $60 million capital campaign goal is in reach. Please join us in celebrating this exciting new space, and consider supporting your community hospital.

Aspen Valley Hospital builds on momentum

Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Under the steady leadership of our Chief Executive Officer, Dave Ressler, Aspen Valley Hospital continues to manage the complex challenges that exist in this unpredictable and ever-changing healthcare landscape. As a nonprofit hospital, we have a primary responsibility to provide the very best care possible, while also being good stewards of this 128-year-old vital community resource. Last year, over 80,000 patient encounters were managed across our network of care – which spans Aspen to Snowmass Village to Basalt – demonstrating the significant need for healthcare services locally.

Our nonprofit status means that we deliver extraordinary care each and every day to all in need, regardless of ability to pay. We make decisions on what services, physicians, specialists, technology and facilities are needed by the people we serve – unlike for-profit hospitals whose decisions are based on profitability. In fact, profits at for-profit hospitals are paid to shareholders. At AVH, the community owns the hospital, and therefore, any excess revenue over expenses is immediately reinvested in priority projects that will better serve our patients.

In 2019, we will build on the terrific momentum from last year and will continue to expand our network of care through various mid- and upper-valley locations, including construction of a new year-round Snowmass Clinic. The plan also calls for the recruitment of new primary care physicians, and enhancement of local, regional and national partnerships that can help the breadth and depth of our services, including NYC-based Hospital for Special Surgery. In addition, evaluating facility and technology needs will also be high on the agenda, including implementing a state-of-the-art electronic medical record.

There is no doubt: Aspen Valley Hospital is your community hospital. The key driver for all AVH does revolves around the needs of our community. Having funding to support these strategies requires a great investment of resources. Patient revenues allow us to maintain, while philanthropy helps us make a significant impact by accelerating our pace of progress.

Aspen Valley Hospital by the numbers


Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

While I have often stated how important Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) is to our community, our numbers truly help to illustrate just how needed AVH is.

At the end of each year, I like to take a look at the volume of patients we managed across our network of care, and you may remember in last month’s column I defined what comprises that network of care.  AVH sees patients in Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt and each service offered by AVH serves our community in an extremely impactful way.

Perhaps the most visible service is the Emergency Department.  In 2018, 8,527 patients came through the doors of the ER and were treated with compassionate and expert care.  Some community members have the impression that AVH simply handles basic patient intake and transfers those patients out.  However, nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, AVH’s emergency medicine staff is able to not only diagnose and stabilize, but also treat 98% of the patients presenting right here at AVH.

AVH is able to deliver this high level of care because of the diverse medical staff we have access to – 75 members strong representing 25 different areas of expertise. Overall, AVH managed more than 100,000 patient encounters last year.  For a 25-bed critical access hospital (CAH), this number is truly astonishing. We managed this vast patient population while still maintaining our 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the only CAH in Colorado to earn this highest mark; and with financial stability as evidenced by our Moody’s Baa2 rating with a “stable” outlook.

When people ask, “Is there really a need for a hospital in Aspen?,” our community can feel very good about answering that question with a resounding “Yes!”

Aspen Valley Hospital Expands Access to Care

Aspen Valley Hospital Expands Access to Care

Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

The AVH Board’s vision is for our hospital to be a leader in fostering our community as the healthiest in the nation.

Achieving our Board’s vision requires a transformation effort we call “Population Health Innovation,” which is how we describe our various efforts to assure our community is well cared for across the continuum of physical and mental healthcare services, and that our services are accessible throughout the mid- and upper valley. This means we are becoming a community-owned Network of Care.

Our network is comprised of your community hospital (since 1891!) as well as multiple locations throughout our service area where we provide a broad array of healthcare services that meet the needs of our community and visitors from around the world. These include our seasonal Snowmass Care Clinic that is located in the Snowmass Village Mall (with plans to relocate to the base of Snowmass Village in late 2019), which sees patients injured on the mountain as well as walk-in patients seeking care for injuries and illnesses of all kinds. In Basalt, the After-Hours Medical Care practice provides care by board-certified emergency and family medicine physicians who treat acute illness and injuries. The walk-in clinic is available after hours and on weekends and is staffed with registered nurses and X-ray technologists.

Our network also features alternative care sites in the midvalley for surgeries and MRIs, where patients can receive state-of-the-art healthcare closer to home and at a lower price point. The hospital’s midvalley campus includes the Midvalley Surgery Center, providing same-day surgery procedures in the specialties of gastroenterology, orthopedics and pain management; and the neighboring Midvalley Imaging Center, offering MRI scans.

AVH is also proud to be associated with our well-respected community physicians in a wide array of specialties. Also, several specialists are part of our newly developed AVH Center for Medical Care, which operates practices in the areas of: cardiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology (ENT) and OrthoAspen – and as a note of importance, OrthoAspen recently linked arms with the No. 1 orthopedic hospital in the country, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Many other practices partner with AVH, such as our hospital-based general and specialty surgeons associated with Surgical Specialists of Colorado, and our radiology specialists at Radiology Imaging Associates.

As our community grows, so will our network of care to meet your needs. In 2019, several significant projects will be undertaken to expand medical office space, replace and upgrade technology, and recruit needed physicians. All of these projects, programs and investments are undertaken with one single objective: to improve the overall health of our community.

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation gives thanks

Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

In this season of giving thanks, Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation extends heartfelt thanks to a very special group of donors: our employees. For over 127 years, it has been the people behind Aspen Valley Hospital who have kept the organization focused on its mission of providing care to our community. Going above and beyond is something very common amongst all AVH employees – it’s just in their DNA! They have committed themselves to helping others and that stretches far beyond their jobs. Employees serve on community boards, volunteer at schools, are volunteer firefighters, are big buddies, bring medical expertise and equipment to remote parts of the world, participate in service clubs, and support a variety of many other worthy causes throughout the region, and beyond. And, so many AVH employees also choose to support the Hospital through the annual employee giving campaign. We are so honored to work side-by-side with such a terrific group of people, and we are thankful for all they do – 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, every day. So, we thought, as Thanksgiving is upon us, that we would pause and take a moment to convey our sincere thanks to all of our wonderful employees – they truly are the heart of Aspen Valley Hospital.

“I give because it helps my community.” – Adriana Castro, Whitcomb Terrace

“I give because AVH saved my daughter’s life when she was just 1 day old.” – Dallas Gillespie,
Human Resources
“I give to help support my fellow employees.” – Max McCowan, Emergency Department
“Yo doy mi contribución a Aspen Valley Hospital con el fin de que sea un lugar que de un buen servicio a los pacientes.” – Josue Hurtado, Engineering

“I give to keep our community healthy.” – Kristy Bates, Nutritional Services
“ I give because it’s the right thing to do.” – Amy Trubiroha Wells, Administration

Aspen Valley Hospital offers one-stop shopping for women

(sponsored content)

Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

As the month winds to an end, I thought I would dedicate this column to something very near and dear to my heart – breast cancer. If you don’t know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, every month is breast cancer awareness month in my house. After my own personal diagnosis, one thing became crystal clear: early detection is still the best defense! Let this be a reminder to take care of yourself. Find the time! No excuses!

Aggressive surveillance will always be a part of my life. “Having advanced screening and diagnostic technology and treatment options that are local and easily accessible are not only important to me, but also to every woman in our community.”

Aspen Valley Hospital has now completed three of the four phases of its building and modernization project. That incredible project has allowed for nearly every clinical and non-clinical area to be located in new or newly renovated space. It has also allowed for the creation of new clinical areas. Earlier this year, we opened one such clinical area, an enhanced Women’s Imaging Center. That led to further development of a true Breast Center. Nearly all facets of breast care can be received within that center, including:

• Mammogram screening & diagnostic imaging
• Ultrasound-guided and stereotactic biopsy
• Dense breast ultrasound
• Coordinated care via our breast navigator
• Genetic counseling
• Breast and reconstructive surgery
• Oncology care
• Chemotherapy
• Oncology & lymphedema rehab
• Psychosocial support
• Nutrition counseling

Within that arsenal of diagnostic screening technology, you may have noticed dense breast ultrasound. I would be remiss in this column if I did not mention a special friend and grateful patient, Rachel Sherman. Earlier this year, she was inspired by her own personal journey and became very involved with the Hospital’s efforts to accelerate the purchase of this important equipment. She and her husband, Tony, not only offered a generous gift, but rallied the troops and raised awareness for women with dense breasts. This effort resulted in significant funding to ensure this technology was available sooner than later.

Truly, our success is because of friends like these who see a need and look for ways to help. This column is dedicated to Rachel and to all of the special people who have, time and time again, supported ensuring the best possible care is available in our community.