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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.

Aspen Valley Hospital & Whitcomb Terrace: Keeping Seniors Active and Independent

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Whitcomb Terrace, managed by Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), is a 15-unit assisted living residential complex located on the Hospital's campus. This special community asset was the vision of a beloved community physician, Dr. Harold "Whit" Whitcomb. Dr. Whitcomb saw a great need for this level of care for our aging population, and spearheaded the effort to bring the project to fruition. He was front and center when Castle Creek Terrace Assisted Living Facility, as it was originally named, opened in 1990. And in 2007, shortly after Dr. Whitcomb's passing in 2006, the complex was dedicated in his memory, honoring his commitment to seniors and his remarkable 40 years of service as a physician.

The original vision of Dr. Whitcomb was to have a place where local seniors can live, retain their independence and dignity, and also have assistance with daily care needs. This vision remains the cornerstone of Whitcomb Terrace's values today. Staff is on hand 24/7, helping with housekeeping, meals, laundry, medication administration, appointments, on-site salon services, physical activities, transportation and other day-to-day activities; all part of the carefully planned and compassionate support system that envelopes each resident. Outings that connect residents to cultural, social, educational, and spiritual events are all part of Whitcomb Terrace's continued focus on keeping its residents active and engaged. In addition, the Pitkin County Senior Center, which offers daily activities, classes and adventures is strategically located in the same building, further enhancing social interaction.

The 15 apartments that make up Whitcomb Terrace range in size from studios to large one bedrooms, and each apartment has a patio or balcony. Rent is determined based on the size of the unit, and often can be less than many apartments of similar size in Aspen – making this an attractive, all-inclusive option for many seniors on a fixed income. In addition, residents are able to keep a pet, also enhancing their overall quality of life.

"We usually have a long waiting list for apartments," noted Maggie Gerardi, Director of Whitcomb Terrace. "I think that is because of our incredible care team, many of whom have been with us for decades, and the blend of activities, enrichment events, and other support services that keep our residents happy, healthy, active and engaged."

Under the medical direction of Dr. Josh Seymour, who can often be found sitting with residents having a cup of coffee, Whitcomb Terrace's services also include annual physicals, help with navigating medical appointments, and if needed, immediate access to a higher level of care at Aspen Valley Hospital.

To learn more about availability, pricing, to schedule a private tour, or to inquire about volunteering, contact Maggie Gerardi at 970.544.1531 or mgerardi@aspenhospital.org.

 

AVH receives a rare Five-Star Rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Out of 31 critical access hospitals in Colorado, Aspen Valley Hospital is the only hospital to receive a perfect, overall five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

AVH not only shines among critical access hospitals—hospitals with 25 beds or less located more than 35 miles from another hospital—but also among all hospitals, large and small, urban and rural. According to Becker's Hospital Review, of the 4,000 hospitals nationwide in the CMS system, only 337 achieved a five-star rating in 2017. That's just eight percent of all hospitals, and AVH is one of them!

Further highlighting just how much of an achievement this is, in Colorado, only seven out of 81 total hospitals received a five-star rating. AVH is truly among the best of the best when it comes to providing healthcare.

The CMS overall rating is completely objective and determined by independent patient surveys conducted by CMS, as well as an analysis of reported data on a variety of measures. To achieve a five-star rating, hospitals must prove excellence in six main areas, including: timely and effective care, low rates of complications and deaths, low rates of hospital readmission, effective use of medical imaging, high patient satisfaction and value. To further review the data, visit http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.

For our patients, it means they can have confidence in the care received at Aspen Valley Hospital. From the receptionist who greets you, to the surgeon who performs your procedure or the oncologist who guides your treatment plan, you can expect across-the-board, top-notch care that is on par with the best hospitals in the nation.

Are you a grateful patient of Aspen Valley Hospital? We'd love to hear your story. And, if your care, or the care of your loved ones has inspired you, we welcome your support of our ongoing fundraising efforts. From technology, to talent, to new facilities and programs, philanthropy continues to accelerate our pace of progress and allows our quality care to continue!

 

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation salutes outgoing Chairman

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Last Tuesday, hospital leaders and community friends bid farewell to outgoing AVH Foundation Board Chairman, Archer Bishop and his wife, Sandie. The couple, who is relocating full time to South Carolina, was sent off with a surprise party with more than 70 people in attendance, many of whom shared personal stories about the wonderful impact the Bishops have had on our community.

John Sarpa will succeed Dr. Bishop as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Sarpa has been an integral part of Aspen Valley Hospital and the Foundation, serving as Chairman of the Hospital Board from 2004-2013, as Interim AVH CEO in 2013, and as the Foundation Board's Vice Chair since 2012.

As part of the festivities, AVH Foundation President & CEO, Deborah Breen presented Dr. Bishop with the "Moving Mountains" award to commemorate his vital role as the Foundation's inaugural board chairman – a position he has held since July, 2013. Under his insightful leadership, the organization has been able to build a strong board, recruit a Foundation team, create a comprehensive development program, and launch a $60 million capital campaign.

Dr. Bishop, the ultimate gentleman, has been an inspiring leader and an incredible friend and advisor who is well respected by all. He encouraged many people to get involved and played a pivotal role in helping AVH Foundation reach the $43 million mark in their campaign fundraising efforts, which are being dedicated to the Hospital's master facilities plan.

Dr. Bishop leaves AVH Foundation incredibly positioned, and with his utmost confidence that momentum will continue and the $60 million goal will be attained. AVH Foundation remains confident that they can build upon Dr. Bishop's efforts and achieve their goals under the strong leadership of John Sarpa.

Dr. Bishop deserves our collective congratulations and thanks for his service and unwavering commitment to healthcare in our community.  Although he is stepping down as Chairman, he will remain on the Foundation board to ensure progress continues.

Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation educates its donors

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Patient revenues allow Aspen Valley Hospital to maintain status quo, yet it is philanthropic support that truly allows us to achieve excellence. New technology, new talent and new facilities are all made possible through the generosity of our donors. In fact, the final phase of the Hospital’s master facilities plan rests in the hands of our philanthropic community.

A lot has been discussed about the tax law changes and the overall impact on philanthropy. Having a higher standard deduction may mean that many Americans will no longer need to itemize deductions, which would include itemizing deductions for charitable contributions. The theory is that itemizing deductions inspires giving. I disagree with that theory.

Some people may be incentivized to give because of certain tax benefits. However, the majority of donors give because they want to make a difference and support a worthy organization that is doing good work.

There are a lot of nuances to the existing and new tax laws concerning charitable giving and estate taxes. At Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, we find that our most engaged donors are those who are informed about all the options and vehicles that can be used to make a gift.

Outright gifts remain the most popular way to give. However, there are many estate planning techniques that can meet key objectives such as leaving more to heirs, less to Uncle Sam, and including a philanthropic component in your final plans.

To that end, we thought it would be timely to have our very talented estate planning attorney, Bill Gustoff, offer a special "Lunch & Learn," on Friday, February 23, about how these new tax laws impact individuals and estates.

Bill, who visits Aspen monthly to assist AVH Foundation’s donors and friends with values-based estate planning strategies, will present on all relevant aspects of the law, including estate planning, charitable planning and general effects of the new tax law. Bill is also available by appointment and if you would like a private, complimentary consultation to talk more specifically about your tax and estate planning.