This article first appeared in the Vail Daily on November 30, 2020.
This week, after more than five years of planning and construction, we are excited to open the new east wing of Vail Health Hospital, providing a more sophisticated infrastructure to meet the growing needs of our community and guests.
The east wing will improve access to high-quality care by including a state-of-the-art 24/7 emergency department with dedicated behavioral health rooms; a roof-top helipad with direct elevator access to the hospital; improved medical space for nurses and providers; additional operating rooms; a new imaging/radiology department; increased covered parking; accommodations for the ambulance district; an enclosed loading zone; a new pharmacy, gift shop and Starbucks; LEED certified standards; and a main entrance off South Frontage Road.
The new main hospital entrance is now 180 South Frontage Road West. For access to The Steadman Clinic and Howard Head Sports Medicine, the patient entrance will remain located off 181 West Meadow Drive until mid-2021.
As we look toward the future, there is a lot of uncertainty. However, our community has faced every obstacle that has come our way in 2020 with collaboration and a willingness to listen and learn from each other. We are a stronger, more resilient community and we aren’t finished yet.
From increased COVID-19 testing capacity and quicker testing result turnaround time to preparing for the future by ensuring we have enough PPE on-hand, Vail Health is committed to helping serve our community throughout the pandemic. We are being creative and finding solutions that look ahead to the ‘what ifs,’ such as leaving the old Emergency Department intact to be used as COVID-19 surge capacity, if needed.
Unfortunately, not every health care system in the state or nation is faring as well as we are currently, and we do not operate in a silo. What happens to the hospitals in Denver and the Front Range has a ripple effect on us. If those hospitals fill up, it limits our ability to transfer patients to those facilities that can provide more advanced medical care. We are keeping a close eye on what is happening state and nationwide because of this.
We are focused on much more than COVID-19 care. Our 1,300 staff and providers also fill their days with primary and specialty care at Colorado Mountain Medical, cancer care at Shaw Cancer Center, sports rehabilitation at Howard Head Sports Medicine, behavioral health support through Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, emergency care, cardiology, childbirth and much more.
On behalf of our volunteer board of directors and myself, thank you to everyone in the community for your continued support during these uncertain times and for your patience during the past five years of construction on the hospital. This has been a community effort, and we are grateful for your partnership.
Will Cook is the president and CEO of Vail Health.