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Trend: Provider Partnerships Pave Way for Success

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 edition of Health Care & Senior Housing Quarterly: A Colorado Real Estate Journal Publication.

“Provider partnerships” and “physician alignment” have been hot topics in the health care industry in recent years – not surprisingly because both strategies respond to growing market pressure to deliver better, more convenient care.

Colorado health care providers were some of the first to successfully embrace these trends and, although many elements are necessary for success, they also recognized that real estate is a key component. By creating a growing network of facilities in previously underserved markets, they’re better serving a growing patient base and providing a comprehensive range of services.

Four of these visionary providers are The Steadman Clinic and Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery, both world-renowned orthopedic clinics headquartered in Vail; Vail Health, a nonprofit community health system with 13 locations across Eagle and Summit counties, including a 56-bed hospital in Vail; and Aspen Valley Hospital, a 25-bed community hospital and network of care with multiple locations in the upper Roaring Fork Valley.

During the past three decades, Vail Health, along with The Steadman Clinic and its research arm Steadman Philippon Research Institute and VSON, have co-located in ambulatory care facilities in Vail and Edwards to meet the growing demand for rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The clinics, located near popular skiing destinations, have been instrumental in meeting the needs of the region’s active residents and visitors.

Remedy Medical Properties (formerly MBRE Healthcare), the nation’s largest private owner and service provider of health care real estate, is currently developing facilities in Dillon and Basalt.

The first project is a new clinic in the high-growth Dillon market, about 32 miles east of Vail. The area was underserved for primary care, urgent care and other specialty services, requiring patients to travel 60 to 90 miles to Denver for medical care.

In 2019, The Steadman Clinic, VSON and Vail Health commissioned Remedy and its in-house strategic planning unit Percival Health Advisors to research the feasibility of a new clinic in Dillon. Based on anticipated five-year growth in outpatient visits and skier patient volumes, Percival projected that a new clinic could support four operating rooms, plus space for two additional ORs to meet projected 2025 demand.

Vail Health worked closely to align with the goals of three key independent physician practices: The Steadman Clinic, VSON and Colorado Mountain Medical. The orthopedic groups wanted to grow in additional markets, and Vail Health was able to offer a large site in Dillon in a highly visible location. Vail Health began partnering with Colorado Mountain Medical in 2019 to offer primary care and specialty care services within the Vail Health system in Eagle County, and the Dillon clinic provided a new market for Colorado Mountain Medical’s services.

The result of this collaboration will be the new three-story, 85,000-square-foot Dillon clinic, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall at 365 Dillon Ridge Road. The building will include primary and specialty care, urgent care, medical oncology, a breast center, imaging center, orthopedics, sports medicine and rehabilitation, and a joint-venture ambulatory surgery center. The project team includes architect Davis Partnership, which is headquartered in Denver, and the contractor is Minneapolis-based Adolfson & Peterson Construction.

In a continuation of its expansion plans, The Steadman Clinic announced a new strategic partnership last September with Aspen Valley Hospital, Vail Health and Orthopedic Care Partners, the leading partner for high-performing, patient-focused orthopedic surgery practices.

This agreement enables the partners to deliver a full complement of unsurpassed orthopedic and sports medicine services, imaging, physical and occupational therapy, and a joint-venture ambulatory surgery center to the Roaring Fork Valley. The new three-story, 65,000-sf ambulatory surgery center and clinic is located in Basalt, about 18 miles northwest of Aspen. Basalt is home to the growing Willits Town Center mixed-use development. The new facility will make it easier for patients to receive care close to home and the nearby ski slopes, serving the needs of professional and aspiring athletes from across the country and around the world.

The building is slated for completion in early 2022. It will house four ORs with two additional shells for future growth, nine pre-op and post-op rooms, 14 total recovery rooms, a procedure room and a biologics lab. The Steadman Clinic Aspen physicians and their teams will staff the new facility, and The Steadman Clinic Vail physicians will rotate to the facility as well. Orthopedic Care Partners is providing management expertise and access to investor capital.

In addition, groundbreaking research and education through SPRI will be central to the partnership with plans for a regenerative medicine laboratory focusing on healthy aging and musculoskeletal health, and enrolling patients in clinical trials.

As part of the Basalt project, Remedy, The Steadman Clinic and the project team also are incorporating a community park that is designed to provide an outdoor extension of the lobby, offering a seamless transition between indoors and out. The architect for the project is Boulder Associates, and the general contractor is Haselden Construction of Centennial.

The Steadman Clinic, VSON, Vail Health, Aspen Valley Hospital and OCP executives are confident that the new facilities will be the latest examples of successful provider partnerships and physician alignment strategies, resulting in better-quality, more convenient care in those markets.