Health Care: Poudre Valley, Western Plains fill key staff spots

Poudre Valley Hospital filled two new positions this month. Paul Schofield was appointed vice president of managed-care services, and Ed Egger became executive director of public relations.

Schofield started his career in 1982, working with health-maintenance organizations and physicians in the Twin Cities area, and went on to become vice president of Sierra Vista Medical Center, a for-profit hospital in San Luis Obispo, Calif., for 14 years.

“My primary role will be to work hand in hand with physicians to develop an integrated delivery system that most effectively meets the needs of the local community as managed care becomes more popular with employers,” Schofield said.

Egger comes to PVH after working for 10 years for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri, where he was vice president for communications and public affairs. Egger also has 10 years’ experience in the newspaper business. He owned a small weekly newspaper in Traer, Iowa, and worked for the Miami Herald. Most recently, he owned a St. Louis-based consulting firm that worked with clients on issues relating to Latin America, health care and agriculture.

Egger said his main task will be doing everything he can to keep the community abreast of the services that Poudre Valley Health System provides.

“I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen at PVH,” Egger said. “They’re doing a remarkable job, and I’m hoping to relay word of their excellent services to the community.”

In Greeley, Bill Horner has joined Western Plains Health Network as medical services director. He will work on managed care as it relates to utilization management, quality management and credentialing.

Horner has worked extensively with large PHOs in Arizona, including Arizona Health Care Alliance, a super-PHO comprised of seven PHOs merged to do statewide and regional contracting with payers.

“I’ve worked with large integrated systems,” Horner said, “and I see Western Plains Health Network as having all the pieces of the Arizona model.”

Resident docs get new digs

GREELEY — The North Colorado Family Medicine Residency Training Program is getting a much needed new home this year.

The program, which for some 22 years has graduated family-practice physicians from a residency curriculum at North Colorado Medical Center, will move into a new, 36,000-square-foot building this fall.

Now in approximately 12,000 square feet in a building at 16th Street and 17th Avenue, the training program will occupy 25,200 square feet of the new building at 16th Street and 23rd Avenue.

“We’ve been looking for a different facility for that program for two or three years,´ said Gene Haffner, spokesman for NCMC.

Reasons were twofold. One was the obvious cramped quarters and the fact that renovating and expanding the current facility simply was not economical. Secondly, Haffner said, were concerns expressed by the residency training program’s accreditation board that the current facility is not adequate.

The training program accepts 12 resident doctors annually into its three-year routine that includes rotations at the hospital and a medical practice with an academic regimen.

“It’s a rural training program to prepare family physicians for practice in rural communities,” Haffner said.

The new building will feature enhanced educational and training facilities. The building is owned and being developed by Cottonwood Point LLC, represented by Harold Evans of Greeley. Alliance Construction is the general contractor.

Evans said the owners “worked diligently” to make the facility compatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood.

The new building also will have 6,000 square feet of storage and utility space in the basement. The remaining 4,800 square feet will be marketed by Vintage Corp.

“I think it will lend itself to a user compatible with medical uses,” Evans said.

Opthalmology practices merge

FORT COLLINS — The merger of two ophthalmology practices and an optical center here will result in the largest ophthalmology and outpatient surgery center in Northern Colorado.

The new entity will bring together Eye Center of Northern Colorado PC, Poudre Valley Ophthalmology PC and Jackson Optical. It will be called The Eye Center of Northern Colorado. A new, 24,000-square-foot building is being constructed for the group at Riverside Avenue and Prospect Road.

“It is driven by managed care and the desire to serve our patients better,´ said Carol Wittmer, practice administrator for Eye Center of Northern Colorado.

She said all but one of the ophthalmologists in Fort Collins will be part of the new clinic and surgery center. They include doctors Gerald Olsen, Matthew Robinson, Gary Foster William Shachtman, Russell Boehlke, William Stevens and Randall Smith. Approximately 34 employees will work in the new facility, being built by Drahota Construction Co.

“This is designed to be a regional care facility,” Wittmer said. “It’s driven by a need to maintain and expand our relationship with payors (insurance companies) and economies of scale and service.”

Additionally, patients who once had to undergo cataract surgery at Poudre Valley Hospital or the Surgery Center of Fort Collins will be able to have the procedure done at the new Eye Center.

Of the seven doctors joining together in the new center, six are full-time, and one practices part-time. The complex will be large enough to accommodate the practices of eight full-time eye surgeons.

The addition of the optical center also will enhance customer convenience and attract insurance plans that prefer all services to be under one roof.

Reach Helen Taylor at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683 or (800) 440-3506. Her fax number is (970) 221-5432. Reach her via e-mail at ncbr@aol.com.