This article first appeared in the Summit Daily on August 27, 2020.
DILLON — Dillon will soon be home to Vail Health’s new medical health center, which will provide a wide range of services for Summit County residents and visitors.
Construction is underway for the 85,000-square-foot health center, which is at the corner of U.S. Highway 6 and Dillon Dam Road near City Market, and is expected to be complete in fall 2021. The health center is the fourth Vail Health building in Summit County. Currently, the system owns and operates Howard Head Sports Medicine in Breckenridge and Silverthorne and the Frisco Specialty Clinic, located on Main Street.
In addition to providing services from the Shaw Cancer Center and Howard Head Sports Medicine, the 85,000-square-foot Dillon health center will have an ambulatory surgery center, a Colorado Mountain Medical clinic, a multi-specialty clinic and an urgent care clinic.
“The one in Dillon will actually be much more comprehensive than we’ve done to date,” Vail Health CEO Will Cook said.
Colorado Mountain Medical will be providing urgent care, internal medicine and family medicine through primary care doctors. This is the first time the clinic has offered services in Summit County.
“We understand from the work that has been done that there is a need in Dillon for urgent care and primary care services, as well, along with specialty services,” said Dr. Brooks Bock, CEO of Colorado Mountain Medical.
While final decisions haven’t been made on exactly which services Colorado Mountain Medical will provide, Bock said the practice is going to focus on providing the services that most meet the needs of the community.
Cook said a major goal with the new clinic is to provide services at a lower cost to individuals. He and his team are working with local officials and the Summit Community Care Clinic to find ways to provide more cost-effective services.
“The cost of health care is a real problem in our country, our state and particularly in the mountains,” Cook said. “We’ve been working closely with elected officials and our communities on ways that we can address that, in part by offering lower rates and also in part by doing a better job managing people’s care.”
By offering alternatives to the hospital or emergency rooms with its primary care doctors and urgent care clinic, the new medical center will help people cut costs on health care, Cook said.
The clinic also will be providing behavioral health services, which are desperately needed in mountain communities like Summit County, Cook said.
“In all the mountain communities, unfortunately you’re dealing with the paradise paradox,” he said. “It’s tough living up here — the cost of living, seasonality and the cost of health care. So that has resulted in a need to figure out how to deal with the behavioral health crisis.”
The clinic also will bring jobs to Summit County. Cook said the health system plans to hire doctors, nurses and specialists. Once the fall 2021 opening date nears, Vail Health will start recruiting for the new clinic, he said.
Once completed, the project should cost about $70 million, barring any delays due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Despite the pandemic, construction on the project is on schedule, Cook said.
Currently, construction crews are working on the steel structure for the new building. The building will feature an underground parking garage to save space, Cook said.
The building also will be designed for adaptability. Right now, the center won’t offer radiation therapy or inpatient services, but Vail Health has allowed for that to be a possibility in the future.
“We have built the building in such a way that if we want to expand it to radiation therapy, which we’re considering doing, we can do that,” Cook said. “We have built it in a way that if we want to put an emergency department there, we can. … We’re trying not to replicate too much, and we’re trying to offer lower-cost services.”