UCHealth plans to build emergency center on Harmony Campus

New facility will reduce wait times, increase patient comfort during medical emergencies
December 3rd, 2014

FORT COLLINS, Colo.– UCHealth announced plans today to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency center in southeastern Fort Collins to serve the rapidly growing area.

Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, said the $12.3-million center, to be built on UCHealth’s Harmony Campus, will offer easy access and comfort with short waiting times, efficiency of service and high quality care for residents in southern and southeastern Fort Collins and surrounding areas.

The 16,850-square-foot emergency center will be a single-story building that will be constructed south of Harmony Road and east of Snow Mesa Drive on the 96-acre campus.

The center will have 12 private exam rooms and computed tomography, ultrasound and basic X-ray services. It also will have an outpatient laboratory and retail pharmacy, both of which will be open 24/7, the first in this area of the city.

Plans include private space and equipment for conducting specialized examinations for victims of sexual assault. This will be the second northern Colorado site for UCHealth’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, which has nurses specially trained to care for rape victims and collect forensic evidence. The other site is at MCR.

Emergency center will be located east of UCHealth Harmony Campus off Snow Mesa.

In October, UCHealth reviewed a preliminary design plan with the Fort Collins planning department. Unger said the health system intends to submit the final plan by late December or early January. The plan, which will need to be approved by the city, calls for the center to be constructed and opened in 2015.

The center will be staffed by nurses and advanced care practitioners with specialized emergency medicine training; pharmacists; imaging experts; laboratory scientists; and board-certified ER doctors from Emergency Physicians of the Rockies, an independent group that has served northern Colorado for 30 years and provides ER physicians for PVH, MCR and Greeley Emergency and Surgery Center.

“We anticipate our clientele will be walk-in patients and patients arriving by ambulance,” said Dr. James Campain, who is medical director of UCHealth’s emergency center in west Greeley and will also be the Harmony emergency center’s medical director.

“We’ll provide a full spectrum of emergency services,” he said. “Once treated, patients will go home or, if needed, be transferred to the hospital of their choice for admission.”

The only exceptions will be ambulance patients who meet criteria for highly specialized care, such as major trauma injuries, or cardiac or stroke conditions, said Dr. Campain. “These patients will be taken directly to the closest appropriate hospital.”

Patients with lesser ailments—colds and minor abrasions, for example—will still be able to receive care at UCHealth Urgent Care on the Harmony Campus. The urgent care center, located about two blocks west of the site for the new center, is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week; urgent care patients who arrive after those times will be directed to the emergency center.

In addition, UCHealth laboratory services now located in the Redstone Building on Harmony Campus will be moved to the new center, where 24/7 outpatient lab services will be offered.

“This will allow our community providers and customers greater control over their health care needs and busy schedules,” said Robert Mitchell, director of UCHealth’s laboratory services department in northern Colorado.

Russ Woolley, vice president of operations for UCHealth in northern Colorado, said the new center will help solve a challenge that has occurred in northern Colorado in recent years: the need for more local emergency services to keep pace with the region’s rapid population growth.

The Harmony emergency center will be the second emergency center constructed by UCHealth. The health system opened its first in west Greeley on Nov. 26, 2012.

“We’re modeling the Harmony center after our emergency center in Greeley—convenience, fast service, comfort and quality that result in high patient satisfaction,” Dr. Campain said.

Dr. Campain said initial planning to build an emergency medical center in southeastern Fort Collins began about three years ago. The planning evolved, he said, as a competitor began construction of a small hospital, which will include an emergency department, about 1.2 miles east of Harmony Campus.

“We have loyal patients who live in southern and southeastern Fort Collins,” Woolley said, “and we want to continue our relationship with them by providing convenient, high quality emergency care that is easily accessible and integrated within the UCHealth provider network and electronic medical records system.”

Meanwhile, PVH—the main campus is five miles northwest of the Harmony Campus—has seen a huge increase in the volume of emergency care patients. PVH’s emergency department was enlarged in the early 2000s to meet a growing community need for emergency services, but quickly became busier than expected. By the end of 2014, the number of PVH emergency patient visits is expected to soar to 55,000.

PVH has plans to break ground next year on a two-story addition on its main campus to accommodate a sizable expansion of its emergency services department. The project involves the demolition of the hospital’s original section, to be replaced by the addition that also will house new space for the orthopedics unit, lab services and other support services.

AT A GLANCE:

WHAT: New emergency center.

WHERE: Harmony Campus in southeastern Fort Collins.

BENEFITS:
Easy access, convenience, short waiting times, high quality care.

COST:
$12.3 million.

SIZE:
Approximately 16,850 square feet.

FEATURES:

  • 12 private exam rooms.
  • Diagnostic imaging.
  • Laboratory, 24/7.
  • Retail pharmacy, 24/7.
  • Space and equipment to conduct Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner exams.
  • Covered ambulance bay.

COMPLETION: 2015.

Contact: Kelly Tracer 970.237.7114 or Kelly.Tracer@UCHealth.org

About the author

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.