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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

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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.

Community celebrates Aspen Valley Hospital

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

With history dating back to 1891 when the Hospital opened its first location at the base of Red Mountain, Aspen Valley Hospital has been a critical partner in the community, serving its residents now for 127 years.  Originally constructed to care for injured miners, the Hospital has grown significantly over the years. The most recent growth is a result of foresight by the Hospital’s board of directors who launched an unprecedented Master Facilities Plan (in 2006) which continues to address significant long-standing facility needs. The driving force is to create a patient-care environment that supports today’s technology, privacy and safety standards.

The four-phase construction and modernization project first called for a complete rebuild of the Hospital’s 5-bed maternity unit.  Immediately following, the Hospital broke ground on phase two, which houses the remainder of the Hospital’s inpatient beds, including sixteen private rooms for medical/surgical patients, and four Intensive Care Unit beds. That phase also allowed for the completion of new physical and occupational therapy space, a cardiac rehab unit, a new café and kitchen and several on-campus physician offices.  Phase three of the project was completed at the end of 2017, and allowed for the construction of state-of-the-art facilities to house emergency, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, oncology/infusion, and surgical services, including three new operating rooms.

The Hospital has its sights set on completing the fourth phase of the Master Facilities Plan.  This final phase will connect the newly constructed east and west wings, give the Hospital a true “front door” for ease of accessibility for patients and visitors, and will allow centralized scheduling and admissions. Phase four also includes the creation of the Renée and Lester Crown Center for Specialty Care, which will be a comprehensive multi-specialty care center.

Going hand-in-hand with the construction project has been an extraordinary $60 million capital campaign, which has now reached the $44.1 million mark! Every gift has been inspired by a caring team of professionals who work 24/7, 365 days a year, to ensure life-saving care is available.

Aspen Valley Hospital partners with #1 ranked Hospital for Special Surgery

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

On August 13, the Board of Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) voted unanimously to move forward with an agreement to bring the world-class capabilities of New York-based Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) to Aspen. This exciting partnership combines the excellence of Aspen’s renowned orthopedic group, OrthoAspen, with the #1 orthopedic hospital in the country, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report for the past nine consecutive years. This clinical affiliation brings new expertise, new protocols and clinical enhancements that will benefit all of our orthopedic patients. It ensures that our community will receive the most advanced orthopedic care available, right here in Aspen.

Along with leadership at AVH, the surgeons at OrthoAspen have been engaged in discussions with HSS for several months, and each has profound respect for HSS’s innovation, research and leadership. HSS approached OrthoAspen to pursue this partnership because they believe in the quality of care provided by our orthopedic surgeons and appreciate Aspen’s visibility on the world stage.

The partnership is a true co-management relationship that will create a “medical bridge” between HSS in New York and AVH in Aspen. Specifically, the partnership will drive elevated outcomes for orthopedic patients at AVH through clinical knowledge transfer, medical staff development, professional education, research and academic programming, and quality enhancements.

“We are thrilled to partner with Aspen Valley Hospital, an exceptional institution in its own right,” said HSS Surgeon-in-Chief and Medical Director Dr. Todd J. Albert. “Together we will provide an even higher standard of quality to a community with an especially strong appreciation for the value that will come from that.”

As two nonprofit hospitals each with extensive histories serving their respective communities, both HSS and AVH share common values and a commitment to providing the best possible care for our patients and communities. “This partnership is a great example of our different approach to transforming healthcare,” said Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO of HSS. “Innovative collaboration amongst two organizations committed to excellence in a focused specialty offers an alternative source of value to the trend of mass consolidation and commoditization in healthcare.”

On behalf of the entire leadership team at AVH, we are thrilled with the Board’s decision to enter into this partnership with Hospital for Special Surgery, and we look forward to keeping our community informed as we pursue this exciting collaboration.

“Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar” is Aug. 12

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This Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation polo benefit will raise funds for facilities, new technology and programs at Aspen Valley Hospital

By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Aspen is a community that takes its philanthropic giving quite seriously, but that doesn’t mean donors and fundraisers can’t have a little fun while supporting important causes.

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation (AVHF) is hosting its annual fundraiser, “Chukkers, Champagne and Caviar,” Aug. 12 at the Aspen Valley Polo Club. Tickets range from $300 for general admission to $250,000 for a private, 50-person tent, and many levels in between.

What’s a chukker, you say? It’s the period of play during a polo match, for which there are typically six chukkers. The horses are rotated every chukker in order to stay fresh and strong, AVHF President and CEO Deborah Breen recently told KSNO.

As Champagne and caviar flow beneath the field-side tent, donors can take pride in the money they’ve helped raise. Participants will watch some of the best players in the world take the polo field while enjoying gourmet food and beverages. They will also have the opportunity to bid on exciting live and silent auction items.

The funds raised will support the hospital’s construction project, state-of-the-art technology such as new women’s imaging technology, and the Hospital’s ongoing operations.

Guests at this year’s polo benefit will receive a VIP gift, which will feature specialty items produced in the Roaring Fork Valley such as honey, baked goods, jams, jellies and other products from area businesses.

For anyone who doesn’t want to spend $300 or more on a ticket to the benefit, a free area on one side of the polo field will be available for folks to set up blankets and picnics. Those guests will also have access to shop at the vendor village, where several local retailers will set up shop for the day.

Visit the event site at avhfpolo.gesture.com, or call 970-544-1302 to purchase tickets or to learn more.

Quality care, continuing improvements

Many people do not think about healthcare until they or a family member needs care. Aspen Valley Hospital is an important asset that delivers excellent care to our small mountain community, thanks in part to the funds raised at this annual benefit.

Aspen Valley Hospital has met important goals as evidenced by high-ratings in patient satisfaction and quality of care. The Hospital recently received a coveted Five-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of more than 4,000 hospitals in the nation, only 337 received this rating. AVH is only one of seven in the state of Colorado and the only critical access hospital in the state to receive five stars.

Aspen Valley Hospital has been proudly serving the community for more than 125 years. In order to provide high quality healthcare the community deserves, the hospital continues to modernize and expand facilities, improve technology, and add space for clinics and medical specialties.

“As a result of these improvements, every clinical area is now housed in new or newly renovated space. However, we still have work to do. Funds raised at the Polo benefit will support the remaining phases of construction, which include space for The Renee and Lester Crown Center for Specialty Care, offering new space for medical specialties,” according to AVHF. “It will also include a Central Atrium with upgraded registration and admissions areas to improve patient navigation to inpatient and outpatient areas.”

Support Aspen Valley Hospital at Summer Polo Event

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

The annual “Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar” summer polo event to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation (AVHF) is set for Sunday, August 12 from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

AVHF is delighted to have this wonderful opportunity to raise significant support for Aspen Valley Hospital, in partnership with Aspen Valley Polo Club and Melissa and Marc Ganzi. This event promises to bring glitz and glamour, with an incredible backdrop and the chance to experience the excitement of polo with some of the best and most well-known players in the world taking the field! The day will be memorable with an incredible “who’s who” list of spectators joining in the fun.

The early interest for this event has been overwhelming and with last year’s event selling out early, AVHF encourages you to purchase tables or tickets early!  This is an important friend-raiser and fundraiser, and we are hoping to top last year’s $400,000 raised through this event.

Hosts Melissa and Marc Ganzi have elevated the Aspen Valley Polo Club to the fastest growing polo club in the country. AVHF is fortunate the Ganzis have chosen to use their impeccable polo facility to support Aspen Valley Hospital.

“Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar” promises something for everyone, including two polo matches, vendors featuring luxury items, and terrific opportunities for socializing with friends – both old and new. Silent and live auctions will offer exquisite items and experiences donated by local Aspen businesses, and polo players will be available for photo opportunities throughout the day.  Of course, endless champagne and caviar will complement other culinary delights presented by Caribou Club. Tickets to the event include complimentary shuttle service to and from Aspen.

This year, proceeds will support important technology, facilities and services at AVH.

This is sure to be the “must attend” event of the year. General admission tickets are $300. A limited number of individual VIP tickets and tables are also available at various levels. For more information, please contact AVH Foundation at 970.544.1302, or visit AVHFPOLO.gesture.com.

Elevating Healthcare in Our Community

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) has been proudly serving the community for over 125 years. Providing high-quality healthcare to the community means delivering that care in state-of-the-art facilities.

In 2006, AVH’s Board of Directors approved a master facilities plan (MFP) to address the limitations inherent in a hospital whose core dated back to the 1970s. Advancements in technology, expanded outpatient services, new developments in privacy and safety standards, physician recruitment efforts and a growing demand for services in our community were all driving factors in the Board’s decision. (Did you know AVH manages over 75,000 patient encounters in any given year?)

Over the past 12 years, the modernization and expansion of facilities have put nearly every clinical and non-clinical area in new or newly renovated space. All of the Hospital’s twenty-five inpatient rooms now support privacy, improved infection prevention and efficiency, and new technologies at the bedside. With sixteen medical/surgical beds, five maternity rooms and four intensive care suites, AVH is equipped to handle a full spectrum of care needs. In addition, the MFP allowed for the expansion and construction of a new emergency/trauma department, diagnostic imaging and women’s imaging center, a new operative suite with three state-of-the-art ORs, a cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation center, a center for physical rehabilitative services, an oncology/infusion center, a new diagnostic laboratory, and the addition of several new specialists who now have space on the campus. These improvements have allowed the Hospital to keep pace in the rapidly-changing field of healthcare and meet the growing demands of savvy healthcare consumers.

The new facilities are only half of the story. The investment in these facilities has translated to better patient care. In fact, the Hospital recently received a coveted Five-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. AVH is one of only 337 hospitals of more than 4,000 hospitals nationwide to earn this rating. Also it is the only critical access hospital in Colorado to earn these high marks. AVH is a needed community resource, and is proud of these accomplishments.

So, what is next? With three of the four phases completed, and nearly $43 million of the $60 million needed raised, we still have work to do. The final phase of the MFP will in essence tie the entire project together. A central entry to the Hospital will offer easily accessible admissions and registration, while also allowing for the creation of the Renée and Lester Crown Center for Specialty Care, where several of the Hospital’s specialists will relocate. The final phase will commence once the remaining $17 million is raised – a call to the community to offer their support to this quality-of-life project is supported by AVH Foundation.

To make a gift to Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, contact us at: 970-544-1302 or give online at: supportaspenvalleyhospital.org.