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Understanding Market Demographics to Determine Care Needs

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

Business leaders know that to be successful they need to thoroughly understand their target markets and submarkets and tailor their services, amenities and facilities to those markets.

Health care is no exception. Just ask the executives at UCHealth, an innovative, nonprofit health system with 12 acute care, full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska.

UCHealth executives knew there was a tremendous need for more orthopedic and sports medicine services in the growing, affluent and athletic submarket of Pikes Peak Park in north Colorado Springs. The neighborhood offers favorable demographics for health care consumption with a population slightly older than the national average and an over-65 population expected to increase at nearly double the national rate. Median household income also tops the national average.

UCHealth had a clear vision and strategy for significantly expanding its orthopedic and sports medicine services in this submarket. To cater to the market’s specific demographics, UCHealth partnered with our full-service health care real estate firm to develop an orthopedic focused medical campus.

A site was selected that is highly visible and conveniently located on Interstate 25, which connects Colorado Springs and Denver. It also offers convenient proximity to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and other recreational amenities that make it all the more welcome in this sports minded, physically active community.

The first step toward addressing the unique needs of the market was taken in summer 2016 when we completed the 22-bed, 58,000 square foot Grandview Hospital. The hospital, which features 18 deluxe private patient rooms and a four-bed intensive care unit, provides the highest quality, most advanced orthopedic and sports-medicine care in the area. It includes three advanced operating suites and a comprehensive outpatient surgery center, and is the only hospital in Southern Colorado certified by the Joint Commission for total hip and knee replacement.

Grandview Hospital’s services, location and amenities have proved to be popular with Colorado Springs residents. Since its inception, the hospital’s medical and surgical admission volume has doubled. In addition, UCHealth has been able to successfully align and integrate both employed and community based orthopedic surgeons at this location.

More recently, based on the success of the orthopedic hospital, UCHealth once again partnered with Remedy to add an orthopedic- and sports medicine-focused medical office building to the campus. Ground was broken in August 2019 and the three-story, 65,000 square foot Grandview Medical Center was completed in October 2020. The new MOB accommodates the high demand for orthopedic services in the market and complements services provided in the hospital. In addition, treatment is bolstered by a strong research partnership with the UC School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopedics. We own the MOB and provide property management services.

The new MOB houses a seven-physician orthopedics clinic, sports medicine-focused primary care, a multidisciplinary clinic featuring a variety of specialties, a physical therapy clinic and 7,500 square foot rehabilitation gym. A special feature of the physical therapy department is that it faces Pikes Peak, which provides dramatic imagery of the medical building’s mission.

The new Grandview Medical Center is giving UCHealth’s orthopedic surgeons a new site of practice with improved access to the operating room, and it’s also improving community access to care. The MOB features a full-service imaging center with the latest imaging technology. The imaging center provides much-needed capacity to provide pre-admission testing services for patients prior to surgery – not just at Grandview Hospital but systemwide, for employed physicians as well as private practices that rely on UCHealth for pre-admission testing processing.

While we always look for ways to minimize wasted space and increase efficiency, this is one of the most efficient MOBs we’ve developed. For example, an early floor plan for the first floor included a hallway leading from the elevator lobby to a side vestibule. However, this configuration split the orthopedic clinic into two sections. The corridor wasn’t required for emergency egress, and eliminating it resulted in a contiguous layout for the orthopedic clinic as well as a 464 square foot reduction in common area load. By lowering the common area factor to 13.6% from 14.6%, we created a rent savings for UCHealth of $156,000 over the course of its 12-year lease.

In addition, we worked to include design elements that create continuity with the health system’s other locations. This includes finishes, color palette and its signature arch, which appears on the Grandview Medical Center as an entrance canopy.

While the MOB has been open for only about seven months, it already has strongly validated UCHealth’s market research by far exceeding the system’s projected patient volumes.

“The addition of the Grandview Medical Center is enabling our patients to receive a coordinated, patient-centric experience at a single beautiful, convenient location that includes primary and specialty care, advanced imaging capabilities and therapy services. Most importantly, it’s helping us expand our capacity, improve community access and grow our region,” said Andrew Ritchie, chief administrative officer for Grandview Hospital, in a news release. “This is a great example of being in the right submarkets with the right services.”

About Remedy Medical Properties

Remedy Medical Properties is a full-service healthcare real estate company and the largest private owner of healthcare properties in the country, with over 30 million square feet and 25 offices spanning 43 states. Remedy offers healthcare providers unmatched flexibility in every client engagement, and our adaptability enables us to provide more options in ownership, development, leasing, management, and strategy. Our willingness to commit capital, share more risk, and offer greater foresight results in greater resilience, profitability, and peace of mind for our clients.