What is the hospital’s plan?
BCH has developed a comprehensive 10-year development strategy to really transform the way the hospital provides medical care. The first phase is to consolidate the majority of inpatient acute care services at Foothills Hospital in east Boulder. Consolidating at that location improves access to critical services for most residents of Boulder County.
After that phase is completed, BCH outpatient services will be centralized at the hospital at Broadway and Balsam in northwest Boulder. This facility will also house inpatient care for patients needing behavioral health and physical rehabilitation services.
The third and final phase of the 10-year project is determining the best long-term use for the Mapleton Center.
Why is BCH doing this?
As you know, the federal government plans to reshape how health care is provided, and Boulder Community needs to adapt to these sweeping changes. Our goal is to meet our community’s need for health care. Providing care from new facilities at an easily accessible location is sure to enhance patient and physician satisfaction and will enable BCH to remain the clear leader in providing health care in Boulder County.
When is this going to happen?
This 10-year action plan will be completed in three phases. The first phase is to consolidate the majority of inpatient acute care services at Foothills Hospital in east Boulder. This will start right away and take about three years. The second phase is to centralize outpatient services and business operations at the hospital campus at Broadway and Balsam. That’s expected to take about two years. The last phase is determining the best long-term use for the Mapleton Center. Developing and implementing that plan could take up to five years.
Who developed this plan?
The hospital’s Board of Directors, Medical Staff leadership and management team have really studied the changes that are expected in the health care system. They brought in consultants who are specialists in helping companies adapt to substantial change in their regulatory or business environment. The 10-year plan they developed focuses on improving the quality of patient care and making sure we deliver services as cost-effectively as possible.
Why are you consolidating at Foothills rather than Broadway?
The hospital’s mission is to serve the citizens of Boulder County, not just the City of Boulder. The demographics of Boulder County have changed tremendously over the last 25 years. Centralizing acute services at Foothills Hospital, which is located on Foothills Parkway in east Boulder, improves access to critical care for most residents of Boulder County.
How will this affect patients?
There is no doubt that the proposed changes will enhance care for our patients. As health care has evolved, there have been important improvements in the way medical services are provided and we’ll be able to design our new facilities to provide our patients with the latest treatments as safely, efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Also, consolidating physicians and technologies at one location expands patient access to a full range of treatments and services.
How will this affect physicians?
Our physicians will benefit from the improved physical environment and greater collaboration with their colleagues and our nurses. They will no longer have to provide coverage for two facilities, which can be quite taxing for those with very busy practices.
How will this affect employees?
Our employees will certainly appreciate the improved physical environment. Consolidating in one location will improve access to the resources they need to serve our patients and to do their jobs. We expect our new location and improved facilities to help us attract more patients. Having more patients and more efficient facilities will improve the hospital’s financial situation, which provides more security and stability for our employees.
You say the new hospital will operate more cost-effectively. Does that mean you’ll need fewer employees?
We will be able to operate more cost effectively for two reasons. First, we’ll eliminate some expensive duplication of services. For example, we’ll operate one ICU instead of two, one ER instead of two. Also, the new facilities we build will be designed to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. We expect our new location and improved facilities to help us attract more patients, so our clinical areas will be busier. In the long term, some support areas may need fewer employees, but we would expect to reach appropriate staffing levels through natural attrition.
How much is this going to cost?
We expect the first phase, which is consolidating the majority of inpatient acute care services at Foothills Hospital, to cost about $110 million spread over three years. The savings generated from the consolidation of inpatient acute care at Foothills will almost offset the entire cost of construction. The second phase, which is centralizing outpatient services and business operations at our Broadway campus, will cost $15 million spread over two years. The final cost will depend on how those plans develop. The last phase is determining the best long-term use for the Mapleton Center. There won’t be any cost estimate for Mapleton until we determine how that property will be used.
How will you pay for this?
We’re going to use a combination of existing savings, issuing bonds and community fund raising. Our bonds would be A-rated, so we know they will be attractive to investors. Our community has a history of tremendous financial support for the hospital, so we expect our fundraising efforts to be very successful. The community contributed $7.5 million when we built the Tebo Cancer Center in 2007.
I heard that behavioral health and inpatient rehab will not be moving to Foothills? Why?
Those two areas are not included in this next phase of development for the Foothills campus. The current Foothills Hospital is actually the first part of a long-term development plan that was approved in 2000 by the City of Boulder. In this next phase of development, we’ll build out all the facilities that have already been approved by the City. There isn’t enough approved space available at Foothills to move all of our nursing units, and we determined that the needs of behavioral health and rehabilitation patients could be met at their current location, while some other units needed to move to Foothills to provide optimal treatment for those particular patients.
Will behavioral health and inpatient rehab move to Foothills sometime in the future?
There are no plans for such a move, but as this current consolidation strategy demonstrates, the hospital is committed to changing our services to meet the evolving needs of our community. We regularly do studies to identify shifts in local needs, and we will respond appropriately if the needs in those areas change.
I’ve heard that this consolidation might mean the closure of the ER at Broadway. Is that true?
One of our goals with this consolidation is to provide services more cost-effectively than we can now. One of the ways we will do that is by eliminating some expensive duplication of services. For example, we’ll operate one ICU instead of two, one ER instead of two. As part of our redevelopment of the Broadway campus, we will do an assessment of what medical services are needed in northwest Boulder. For example, if the need is there, we might operate an urgent care center at that campus.
Does the City have to approve your consolidation plans?
The proposed expansion at Foothills Hospital is consistent with the original master plan for that site that was approved in 2000 by the City of Boulder. Therefore, we don’t expect a lengthy design review process.
What are your long-range plans for the Mapleton Center?
The analysis we did for this consolidation plan showed us that the Broadway and Foothills campuses can provide sufficient space for the medical services our community needs. Once the redevelopment of the Broadway and Foothills campuses is completed, we’ll do a study to determine the best use for the Mapleton campus, whether that means new BCH initiatives or partnerships with other organizations.
Is the Mapleton Center for sale?
We have not put the Mapleton Center up for sale. Our plan is to complete the redevelopment of the Foothills and Broadway campuses and then do the studies needed to determine the best possible uses for Mapleton. That is about five years down the road.
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