Memorial Hospital marks 5 years with UCHealth, celebrates achievements and advancements

September 29th, 2017
Photo of UCHealth Memorial Hospital North
UCHealth Memorial Hospital North

Memorial Hospital will celebrate 5 years as part of UCHealth on Oct. 1 – an anniversary marked by multiple achievements, advancements in health care and improvements in patient experience.

Memorial Central and Memorial North, both formerly city-operated, joined UCHealth after Colorado Springs voters overwhelmingly approved a long-term lease agreement that took effect Oct. 1, 2012.Since then, Memorial has seen record growth in patient care, added numerous specialists and practices, invested heavily in the latest technology and achieved a turnaround in finances, with the hospitals providing more than $2.5 million in revenue-sharing payments to the City of Colorado Springs.

Memorial’s growth from fiscal years 2013 to 2017

  • Inpatient admissions at UCHealth Memorial Hospital have grown 44 percent.
  • Outpatient visits have grown more than 70 percent.
  • Memorial’s physicians and advanced practice providers have grown from fewer than 50 in 2012 to more than 230 today.
  • Memorial’s health care locations in the Pikes Peak region have expanded from eight to 22.

“In just five years, Memorial has significantly improved health care in the Pikes Peak region and all of southern Colorado,” said Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of UCHealth Memorial. “UCHealth is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality care, close to home, and the many advancements made since 2012 are a testament to that commitment. Not only have we invested heavily in health care technology, we’ve also invested in people who are both passionate about helping others and are among the finest in the health care field.”

Among the advancements:

  • A vast expansion of the hospital’s neurosciences program, which provides the most comprehensive stroke care in southern Colorado. Memorial offers 24/7 care for all stroke patients, eliminating the need for patients with complex strokes to be transported to Denver for care. Memorial’s neurosciences team has grown more than 530 percent since 2012 and now includes a team of 57 providers and staff members including five neurosurgeons, neuro hospitalists, neuro interventionalists and neuro critical care specialists.
  • Significant growth in cardiovascular care and technology, including the opening of a new heart catheterization lab at Memorial Hospital North and a hybrid operating room equipped with advanced imaging devices at Memorial Central. Memorial’s heart team also expanded to include top surgeons who specialize in complex heart procedures, including aortic root replacement and TAVR, or transcatheter aortic valve replacement. In addition, Memorial Hospital was the first in southern Colorado to begin offering patients the Watchman device, which not only reduces the risk of strokes for patients with atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat – but also can allow those patients to stop taking powerful blood thinners. More than 100 Watchman procedures have now been performed.
  • A new radiation oncology facility at Memorial Hospital North and stereotactic radiosurgery programs at both Memorial Central and Memorial North – offering treatments to many cancer patients for whom surgery is otherwise not an option. Oncology and infusion therapy services also have been expanded to Memorial Hospital North. Memorial is also able to offer some of the most sophisticated treatment options available through affiliation with Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Colorado Hospital.
  • Top scores in quality and significantly higher patient satisfaction. Vizient, a hospital quality database, recently ranked Memorial Hospital in the top 10 percent among more than 250 academic and community hospitals nationwide. Memorial Central has also improved patients’ experience by renovating 188 patient rooms, converting most all of them from semiprivate to private.
  • Expanding access to health care across the region through a major expansion of Memorial Hospital North, which is now underway; the opening of Grandview Hospital; and the development and acquisition of five primary care clinics and five urgent care centers. Memorial is also a teaching facility now, training the doctors of tomorrow through residency programs with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Rocky Vista.
  • Largest provider of maternity, neonatal and pediatric services in the region through Memorial’s collaboration with Children’s Hospital Colorado. With more than 4,600 births in 2016, Memorial operates the largest maternity program in Colorado. And through its relationship with Children’s Hospital Colorado, Memorial offers families access to the most comprehensive neonatal and pediatric services close to home.

“Patients throughout southern Colorado are choosing to come to Memorial in record numbers because they recognize the advanced treatments and quality that we provide,” said Dr. Jose Melendez, Memorial Hospital’s chief medical officer. “Most importantly, we are saving lives each and every day. I am extremely proud of the care our providers, nurses and staff provide. Memorial Hospital has become a true regional referral center, caring for patients from New Mexico and throughout southern Colorado.”

“I could not be more excited about the future of Memorial Hospital and am proud of Memorial’s unique ability to offer services not typically available in communities our size,” said Yuhas. “We are proud of our investments in new technologies, our expansion of services and the ability to offer innovative treatments to patients in southern Colorado. Our goal is to provide our patients with the ultimate health care experience, and in the future, patients can expect to see our continued commitment to innovation and personalized care, closer to where they live.”

About the author

Cary Vogrin is a writer for UCHealth and is based in Colorado Springs.