Health Care: Vencor will add division, new nurse facility locally

FORT COLLINS — Vencor Inc. plans to open a new branch of its home-health division and a new skilled nursing facility in Fort Collins, substantially increasing the company’s presence in the region within the next two years.

The Louisville, Ken.-based health-care giant, which owns and operates 58 hospitals and 314 nursing homes nationwide, has targeted Northern Colorado as one area for continued expansion. The company expects to enter the region’s home-health market before the end of the year.

Vencor’s new home-health division will serve Fort Collins and the surrounding region, within a 60-mile radius, said Larry Lillo, administrator of home-health services for the company, and the company is looking to open a home-health division in Cheyenne as well.

Competition is fierce, with about 18 agencies already operating locally, Lillo said, but he believes Vencor home health will make a successful entrance into Northern Colorado based on the company’s size and reputation.

“Relationships with physicians are key,” Lillo said. “All I ask for is the chance to demonstrate our ability. We can provide a continuum of care that is very attractive.”

Fall 1998 is the target date for Vencor’s Fort Collins-based skilled-nursing facility. Vencor currently leases and operates Golden West Health Care Center on East Elizabeth Street. Facility administrator Shelly Fischer said the company’s new nursing home, located in Huntington Hills, will replace its involvement in Golden West.

Fisher said the center is a pilot project designed to combat the three plagues of the nursing-home industry: boredom, loneliness and helplessness.

“We’re developing a human habitat that will incorporate live-in animals, lots of live, green plants, and a management paradigm that encourages participatory, empowering treatment,” she said

Vencor’s increased presence in the region is part of an aggressive growth strategy, Lillo said. The company now operates in 41 states and hopes to be in all 50 states by the end of the year.

Nursing group finds new home

GREELEY — Rehabilitation and Visiting Nurse Association has relocated to 2105 Clubhouse drive in Greeley, near the Highland Hills Golf Course. RVNA will operate out of half of the 9,400 square-foot space and lease out the rest.

The move to a larger space was necessary to accommodate the agency’s growth – the result of an increase in the demand for home health care happening nationwide, said the association’s rehabilitation director, Glen Ficek.

Last year, RVNA handled 800 in-home clients and experienced a 38 percent increase in its home-health-care business, Ficek said.

He attributes the increase to population growth in the region and expects it will continue, though at a slower pace.

“Our business comes in waves,” he said, “Locally, we have a good reputation for quality care, so we do well with referrals, but it’s not like a snowball rolling down hill.”

RVNA has provided home health care and related services to residents of Northern Colorado since 1979. Ficek said most of its patients are elderly and home-care services run the gamut, from basic nursing to fairly high-tech procedures.

In addition to home health, the agency provides blood pressure, flu and hepatitis clinics, screenings and other community-based services. Two offices in Greeley and Fort Collins employ 130 people, including nurses, therapists, aides and homemakers.

Centura to acquire Sloans Lake

Centura Health, Colorado’s largest hospital system, will acquire all outstanding shares of Sloans Lake Management Corp. stock pending regulatory approval.

In April, Centura proposed to buy Sloans Lake stock owned by Principal Mutual Life Insurance Company, Well Point Health Systems, Columbia-Health One and Sloans Lake management. After a 45-day due diligence period by Centura, a definitive purchase agreement was executed.

Sloans Lake boasts 1,337,400 total covered lives in the state.

Helen Taylor can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683 or (800) 440-3506. Her fax number is (970) 221-5432, and her e-mail address is htaylor@ncbr.com.