Snowmass Clinic reopens to public in new Base Village space
The Snowmass Clinic reopened to the public in its new Base Village location July 1 after temporarily closing due to the COVID-19 crisis in March.
Now more than three months later, clinic staff is excited to be back offering year-round physical therapy, acute illness and injury care to the Snowmass community for the summer season in its long-awaited, state of the art medical facility.
“We’re super excited to be in this new space and to open up to serve our community,” said Kelly Hansen, Snowmass Clinic manager, on June 29. “We’ve had locations open in Aspen and Basalt but have had nothing in between, so reopening in Snowmass is important.”
Late last year, the public first got a sneak peak of the new roughly $3 million Snowmass Clinic, which includes a triage room, procedure room for acute injuries and private patient rooms in a 6,300-square-foot space, as previously reported.
And while many clinic staff members like Hansen have been working in other Aspen Valley Hospital facilities to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic over the past few months, Adam Poss, a longtime registered nurse with the clinic, said he’s been heading project management for the new clinic location, making sure the Base Village space was ready to open when safe to do so.
Poss said right now due to the ongoing pandemic, patients are being triaged near the entrance to the clinic’s parking garage before they can enter the facility, which is located directly below the east One Snowmass clinic space and accessible off of Wood Road.
There is a parking gate and intercom button for patients to push to get the triage process started. If a person does have upper respiratory, COVID-19 symptoms, they will be “referred to the most appropriate facility for care,” Poss said. Aspen Valley Hospital officials “did not have the details” to confirm June 30 if the clinic will be able to offer free COVID-19 testing.
However, if patients do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are cleared by clinic staff, they will be able to enter the new clinic, Poss explained.
“If people pass the triage screening process, they’ll be allowed up in the clnic and required to wear a mask,” Poss said June 29. “It’s been a priority for our administrators to get the Snowmass Clinic back up and running as quickly and safely as possible, which is exciting to see happen now.”
Although clinic employees including Poss and Hansen are excited about operating out of the new Base Village facility, James Spencer, head physical therapist at the Snowmass Clinic, said he’s had some nostalgic moments at the old clinic on the Snowmass Mall recently.
Spencer has continued to offer physical therapy services out of the old clinic over the past several months, starting with only essential visits and moving into more regular sessions with safety precautions in place. And in recent weeks, it’s started to hit him that he wouldn’t be working in the old facility for much longer.
“When the medical side of the clinic shut down at the beginning of COVID-19, it was just me over there,” Spencer said June 29. “So I’ve been taking some photos and sending them to some of the others knowing that that era is over. … There’s definitely some attachment to the old place where we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for 15 years.”
Over the past eight years Spencer has worked in physical therapy at the clinic — first just in the winters and more recently full-time — he said he’s watched it evolve from more of a part-time service to a full outpatient caseload.
Now in the new Snowmass Clinic space, Spencer said he’ll be able to utilize a gym and treatment spaces specifically created for physical therapy, along with new technology to help rehab his patients.
“It’s really exciting to move into this new space,” Spencer said. “With as busy as we’ve been, we’ve just been trying to grow our capacity for treating everyone in this valley who needs PT and this is one way to do it by expanding our operations in Snowmass.”
Overall, Spencer, Poss and Hansen said they’re happy to restart offering care to the Snowmass community and to resume working together as one tight-knit team.
“We’ve been working as a team for a long time and are excited to serve the community again,” Hansen said. “For me, it feels like coming back home.”
“It definitely feels good to get back to doing what we know and love,” Poss added.
The Snowmass Clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, though future hours of operation may change as a result of the pandemic. For questions and more information, call the clinic at 970-544-1518.
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“We’ve got all of these great things going on in (Base Village),” Andy Gunion, managing partner of East West Partners, said to council. “But it is not sustainable if we don’t get the rest of this village built and we’re not going to build it under a plan that makes no sense.”