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ARCHIVED  September 24, 1999

Health systems meet on Windsor’s Main Street

WINDSOR — Windsor residents will have easier access to medical services in the year 2000 thanks to not one, but two new medical centers planned for this growing community of 9,500.

Western Plains Health Network and Poudre Valley Health System both plan to build medical centers in town, In fact, the facilities will sit across the street from one another.

Both health-care groups have affiliations with separate family-practice groups in Windsor. Windsor Family Physicians is aligned with Western Plains, and Windsor Family Clinic is associated with PVHS. The family practice groups will move their offices to the new buildings once they are completed.

Both PVHS and Western Plains have submitted plans to the Windsor Planning Department and anticipate that their buildings will be completed in 2000. PVHS plans call for a 21,000-square-foot building at 1455 Main St., and Western Plains will open an 18,000-square-foot building at the northwest corner of 13th Street and Main.

PVHS has said anticipated services at its new facility will include obstetrics and women’s care; pediatric care; cardiology; gastrointestinal services; internal medicine; surgery; ear, nose and throat care; and radiology imaging. Specialists will offer half-day and full-day clinics.

Rulon A. Stacey, CEO and president of PVHS, said the Windsor medical office building will be an integral part of PVHS. Discussions are in place with physician practices that have expressed interest in having medical offices in the Windsor building. One is the Orthopaedic Center of the Rockies.

“This will be a major step forward in local medical care for Windsor residents,´ said Scott Thomas, CEO of Orthopaedic Center of the Rockies.

Western Plains’ Windsor Medical Center will house a women’s center, specialty clinics, radiology, laboratory services, rehabilitation services, wellness and education programs, and a community conference room.

Western Plains and PVHS have, during the past several years, extended their reach in their respective communities. Western Plains, a division of Lutheran Health Systems, counts North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and McKee Medical Center in Loveland among the facilities in its network. Western Plains is also affiliated with hospitals in Brush; Sterling; Holyoke; Wray; Yuma; Ogalala, Neb.; and Torrington and Wheatland, Wyo.

PVHS encompasses several health care and home care facilities in Fort Collins, including Poudre Valley Hospital, the Children’s Clinic and the Northside Health Center. The system has affiliation agreements with hospitals in Estes Park and Yuma, and Sidney, Neb., and last year, it purchased another 55 acres in Windsor near the Colorado Highway 392 and Interstate 25 interchange. No plans have been announced for that property.

“Windsor was selected on [the basis of] a lot of studying of the communities in the Front Range. We were looking at medical needs, growth rates and the current complement of medical services,´ said Bob Thorn, director of marketing and communications for Western Plains. “We identified Windsor as having significant growth driving the need to increase the level of services in that community.”

Scott Bosch, CEO of WPHN said that NCMC and the network both have a long history of serving Windsor residents.

“As a primarily Weld County community, Windsor residents have sought and received specialty and related care from North Colorado Medical Center for many years,” Bosch said. “Our longstanding relationship with the residents and our recent affiliation with the Family Physicians of Windsor led us to create the Windsor Medical Center project. Expansion of services will allow people to obtain services even closer to home. As a network, we intend to continue and expand services that will meet the needs created by the growth in Windsor and along the Front Range, now and in the future.”

Paul Hobson-Panico, director of strategic planning and information management for Western Plains said that the Windsor site has room to grow, and the way in which the medical center expands will be dictated by the needs of the community.

“Looking at the long-term, another phase could accommodate more physicians and possibly surgeries and obstetrics,” he said. “We look at this as being Windsor’s medical center. We look at what we’re doing as the hospital of the next millennium.”

Making medical services more convenient is a growing trend for health systems nationwide. “Families ought not have to commute for long distances,” Thorn said.

Western Plains announced plans for its center last winter, and PVHS released its plans in July. Traditionally, the relationship between the two systems has been dichotomized between cooperation and competition. A concurrent move into Windsor brings the two entities into closer proximity than ever before and raises some interesting questions: Will there be overlap in services provided? Is each hoping to win patients from the other side? The answers to those questions from representatives of both entities are “no” and “no.”

Paul Schofield, vice president of physicians and network services for PVHS, said the two centers will be “very different” and that this is “not a me-too approach.”

“We had this on the drawing board for months and didn’t want to announce it until we had the plans in place,” Schofield said.

The difference, he explained, is that the Western Plains center will focus on primary care, while the PVHS center will focus on specialty care.

“We had plans before the announcement of Lutheran Health Systems. This is not a reaction to LHS as much as being responsive to the needs of the community. We did quite a bit of research,” he said.

Schofield believes it’s unlikely that Windsor residents will switch care-givers. “We don’t anticipate people will change primary physicians,” he said.

Instead, he said, PVHS is oriented toward those who already use Fort Collins physicians and medical facilities as well as new residents who choose to do likewise.

“We do research in different pockets. This is an area, southeast of Fort Collins and Windsor, that is seeing rapid growth. As an area grows, it’s important for people to have access,” he said.

Gene Haffner, director of community relations for North Colorado Medical Center, said the decision by two health systems to locate in Windsor “speaks to the area, in projections for growth in and around Windsor and the Front Range.” He said he would not be surprised if other private health care providers are looking at sites along the Front Range, as well.

WINDSOR — Windsor residents will have easier access to medical services in the year 2000 thanks to not one, but two new medical centers planned for this growing community of 9,500.

Western Plains Health Network and Poudre Valley Health System both plan to build medical centers in town, In fact, the facilities will sit across the street from one another.

Both health-care groups have affiliations with separate family-practice groups in Windsor. Windsor Family Physicians is aligned with Western Plains, and Windsor Family Clinic is associated with PVHS. The family practice groups will move their offices to the new buildings once they…

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