This article first appeared in the Aspen Times on September 9, 2020.
The deal is done between Aspen Valley Hospital and The Steadman Clinic.
At a special meeting held Tuesday, AVH’s board of directors unanimously adapted a resolution allowing Vail-based Steadman Clinic to expand its presence into Aspen. The clinic will use the second-level AVH space currently used by OrthoAspen, starting Dec. 1.
“That is the date that OrthoAspen will become The Steadman Clinic,” Aspen Valley Hospital CEO David Ressler said during the video meeting. “That will be very exciting. That’s just the very beginning of ski season, but it’s not by design.”
What has been by design, however, has been months of negotiations as well as a letter of intent AVH signed in the spring with The Steadman Clinic. The nonbinding letter marked the beginning of the negotiations in earnest, and also brought to public light what was happening. AVH informed employees at OrthoAspen — which started 63 years ago as Aspen Orthopaedic Associates before AVH bought it out in 2016 — about the discussions in May.
Two familiar faces to patients of OrthoAspen — Drs. Waqqar Khan-Faroqui and Thea Wojtkowski, also husband and wife — will join the new Aspen group, while the other physicians — Drs. Leelee von Stade, Namdar Kazemi and Tom Pevny — won’t be coming along.
At the Zoom call, Khan-Faroqui expressed excitement about the new group focused “on the best possible patient care one can get, combined with a small-town feel, where patients feel they have all attention from the physician. That kind of attention is the attention the Aspen community craves and deserves.”
As well, medical executives announced that construction work is set to begin Sept. 15 on a $40 million ambulatory surgery center at Willits in Basalt. The center will include four operating rooms and nine pre-op rooms.
The project is a partnership among The Steadman Clinic, AVH, Orthopedic Care Partners and Vail Health “to extend and enhance their premier orthopaedic services to Basalt’s Willits Town Center through development of a state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center, clinic space, a SPRI research hub and rehabilitative services. These new facilities will make it easier than ever for patients to receive care close to home and will also serve the orthopaedic needs of professional and aspiring athletes from across the country and around the world,” according to a news release.
Dan Drawbaugh, CEO of The Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute, said work is targeted for completion by December 2021.
Steadman Philippon Research Institute also will partner with AVH for its ongoing research into health and support for the training of future surgeons.
Active clinical trials “will be offered in the Aspen community. We see a passion in Aspen that is no different from Vail, and Aspen becomes a primary site for research and education,” Philippon said at the meeting.
In a prepared statement, Phillipon said, “We have long been interested in expanding to Aspen. In fact, Dr. Steadman (Richard Steadman, the clinic’s founder) and I discussed it years ago. At long last, this partnership makes it possible for us to bring our patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine to the people of the Roaring Fork Valley. We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of physicians joining the practice. Together, we will ensure the highest caliber of clinical and orthopaedic services to Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. Add our commitment to research and education and we know this will be a relationship that benefits all involved.”
The Steadman Clinic also has sites in Frisco and Edwards. The clinic specializes in sports medicine including knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand, spine, foot and ankle injuries and joint replacements.