Lamborn Pays Visit to PPRH

October 26, 2017
In The News

The limelight last week when Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado's 5th Congressional District, paid a visit on the 10th anniversary of the hospital and surgery center.

"We want to brag a little bit – our hospital has achieved the top 5 percent for critical-care access hospitals in the nation," said Kim Monjesky, chief executive officer. Monjesky was referring to Becker's Health Care Review.

"That's impressive," Lamborn said. For instance, to accommodate residents who live above 8,000 feet, the hospital added cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary-function testing. "We try to tailor what we add to the needs of the community," she said.

Recognizing the change in demographics over the next 5 to 6 years, Monjesky expects to see a 20 percent increase in the number of residents 65 and older. "The funding for Medicare patients is very important to this community," she said.

In a time when insurance coverage is evolving, patients on Medicare help keep the bottom line in the black. "The hospital is taking advantage of the increase in over-65 population," said Curt Grina, president of the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital Association, which owns the hospital. "It's good business because they tend to be insured, especially with Medicare, so they are good customers who absorb a lot of health care services."

Along with the hospital, the association built the medical offices and the adjacent skilled-nursing center, Forest Ridge, on the 20-acre campus. "The effect on quality of life is obvious," Grina said. "The effect on the community is about a $16 million payroll, the highest-quality, most permanent, professional jobs in Teller County."

Before the hospital opened, what happened to people who had to drive down the pass for treatment of emergencies such as strokes, Lamborn said. "Were there bad outcomes by not having a hospital here?" he said.

A semi-scientific survey seven years ago identified 165 patients who would have died without the emergency-room care at the hospital, Grina said.

Do residents have access to Peak Vista's clinic, Lamborn said, to which Monjesky replied in the affirmative about the clinic in Divide. "I'm glad to hear that because they have such a sterling reputation," he said. "So you put together the VA and the great new facility we have (in Colorado Springs), hospitals like this, and community health – we're getting to a good place." (Lamborn added a caveat about the new VA clinic. "Not that the VA doesn't have issues they need to work on… The 5th Congressional District has more veterans than any congressional district in the country.")

Grina took the opportunity to address a grievance to the congressman. "In the association's opinion, the VA hospital system is a harm to our community - it siphons off some of the best business from vets which means it limits our revenue and our ability to expand," he said. "And it hurts our citizens because they can't come here - they have to go down there and get inferior service to what they would get here."

Health care service is getting better at the VA clinic, Lamborn said.

However, in the list of providers in Teller County, not mentioned was Penrose Mountain Urgent Care, the former Langstaff-Brown clinic, at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Colo. 67. Before the tour began, Monjesky added that Steward HealthCare now manages the hospital, due to a merger with former managers, IASIS, this month.

In addition to Monjesky, Grina and Robin Ruff, the tour included Mayor Neil Levy, Commissioner Norm Steen, Chamber president Debbie Miller and Lamborn's staff in Colorado Springs and Washington, D.C.

To read this article in its original format, visit the e-edition of the Pikes Peak Courier