UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital marks first birthday amid unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 pandemic

Hospital, cancer center, outpatient clinics care for patients at more than 55,000 total visits in first year
June 18, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please find aerial footage and photos of UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital here.

UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital on Thursday, June 18, 2020, will celebrate its first birthday after caring for patients in more than 55,000 total visits, while adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our first year of operation has been one of great joy, challenges and constant change,” said Diane Cookson, president of UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital, which officially opened June 18, 2019. “As we adjust to life’s new landscape, we are honored to care for patients who choose us for their treatment and in emergencies, to deliver their babies, and to have their surgeries. We are always focused on providing an extraordinary experience for patients and their families while offering access to advanced procedures and treatments.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented the hospital with unique challenges that nurses, providers and staff quickly stepped up to face. “Patients and our teams alike braved new guidelines and visitor restrictions, utilizing technology to connect remotely,” Cookson said. “We remain open and prepared to care for patients, with enhanced measures in place including online check-in through My Health Connection, limiting numbers of patients being seen and physical distancing in waiting room areas. We now test every hospitalized patient for COVID-19, and anyone who tests positive is cared for in separate, isolation areas – ensuring all patients are safe.”

The 87-bed, six-story acute care hospital at 1500 Park Central Drive provides a wide range of diagnostic tests, surgeries and treatments for the communities of Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Roxborough, Sterling Ranch, Ken Caryl, Columbine and beyond. Services that were not previously available to patients in these communities before the hospital opened include a birth center including C-section operating rooms and Level III NICU, 18-bed intensive care unit, six operating rooms, a Level III trauma center and emergency department, and complete imaging capabilities including 3D mammography and PET/CT. The adjoining UCHealth Highlands Ranch Medical Center houses a two-story cancer center with advanced oncology services.

A few key numbers from Highlands Ranch Hospital’s first year (data as of midnight June 16):

  • More than 600 babies were born.
  • More than 26,750 patients received care.
  • More than 9,500 visits to the emergency department.
  • More than 3,600 patients admitted to the hospital for care.
  • More than 3,300 surgeries.
  • More than 44,900 outpatient visits.
  • 575 employees and 1,047 credentialed providers.
  • Approximately 68 volunteers from throughout the community gave of their time and talents to serve patients, visitors and staff. Six of those volunteers were therapy teams consisting of a handler and a therapy dog. Total volunteer hours through February: 6,269 hours, including 148 therapy team hours.

At UCHealth Cancer Center-Highlands Ranch, specialists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and University of Colorado Hospital offer clinical trials and innovative treatments before they’re more broadly available, giving patients the best possible outcomes.

“Our patients at Highlands Ranch receive individually tailored treatment plans including research clinical trials, working with a multidisciplinary team of oncology specialists from the University of Colorado Cancer Center,” said UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Purcell, who is also the associate director for clinical services at the CU Cancer Center. “We’re pleased to be able to provide patients access to the best and most advanced medicine available, right here in their own communities.”

In addition to those services not previously available to patients in their community, the hospital introduced others including women’s health services such as breast care; advanced cardiac services including a cath lab, interventional radiology and electrophysiology; 24-hour retail pharmacy and laboratory; orthopedic care; and advanced neuroscience treatments including rapid CT and neuro-interventional treatments for stroke, epilepsy monitoring unit and comprehensive spine and intracranial programs.

UCHealth Breast Center-Highlands Ranch Hospital offers services ranging from annual screening mammograms to genetic counseling for women with a higher risk of breast cancer, advanced imaging capabilities and biopsy options. UCHealth Birth Center-Highlands Ranch Hospital guides patients through pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery. The Birth Center partners with OB/GYNs and certified nurse midwives in south metro Denver who have served the community for many years.

“Getting to know our patients and providing care for them both for routine visits and the most exciting or difficult times of their lives is a privilege for us each and every day,” said Dr. Tiffany Richason, women’s service line chief at Highlands Ranch Hospital. “The arrival of a new baby is one of the greatest moments in a person’s life, and we cherish the responsibility given to us by our patients and families who entrust us with their care.”