AURORA, Colo. – The Colorado Springs City Council, tasked with deciding the strongest option for the future of Memorial Health System, today unanimously approved a proposal made by University of Colorado Hospital and its partners. Colorado Springs residents will now be asked to approve a lease of Memorial in an upcoming election.
“We’re honored and excited by the city council’s vote,” said Bruce Schroffel, president and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital, which led a group composed of Poudre Valley Health System, Childrens Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado bidding to assume responsibility for Memorial. “I believe we share our very strong values with Southern Colorado, and we’re now looking forward to continuing our conversation with the people of Colorado Springs.”
University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) and Poudre Valley Health System are nearing the formation of a new hospital system which, if the voters approve the City Council recommendation, will be joined by Memorial. As part of the proposal, Children’s Hospital Colorado would operate a specialty “hospital within a hospital” at Memorial.
A special task force had unanimously recommended the UCH proposal to the City Council in December, saying the proposal was clearly the best among the plans offered by five organizations. The task force was especially impressed by how closely the UCH respondents’ values aligned with Memorial’s and the UCH partners’ record of caring for both active duty and retired military members.
“Patient care and extending a great history of providing some of the best medical outcomes in the country are our top priorities, and caring for the un- and under-insured is just part of our DNA,” Schroffel said. “We also have a long history of working with TRICARE to serve members of our military, something they’ve earned through their service to our country.”
In endorsing the task force’s recommendation, Council members also pointed to the partners’ commitment to extending new opportunities for medical students at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
“UCCS is excited about the possibility of training excellent doctors right here in Colorado Springs,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak. “This will also improve our already-strong nursing programs, and provide an economic boost to our community.”
Memorial would become the southern hub of the new system, called University of Colorado Health. Poudre Valley Health, which operates both Poudre Valley Hospital and the Medical Center of the Rockies, would be its northern hub. UCH, headquartered at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, would service as both its literal and geographic academic medical core.
“Having a health care system that spans Colorado’s Front Range is exciting,” said Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Health System. “This opens up new opportunities for patients to access the very best possible health care, and the innovative partnership makes us all stronger.”
The partnership within University of Colorado Health is also expected to provide a significant economic boost to the Colorado Springs community.
“You can look at our track record for a glimpse of what we’ll bring to El Paso county,” said Lilly Marks, chair of the University of Colorado Hospital Board of Directors and executive vice chancellor of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “We’ve made significant financial investments and expanded even as the economy has contracted. We’re committed to the success of Memorial, and we believe local businesses will embrace this partnership.”
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