Dec. 12, 2011
Next spring, you will have the power to decide who will control Memorial Hospital.
Brian Newsome, a spokesperson for Memorial, said that an issue of what to do with Memorial has been on and off for years, if not for decades. He noted that city ownership is a dying business model.
“It’s pretty well-established that Memorial can’t stay the same even though we’ve had a good track record for a long time,” said Newsome. However, the plan is to preserve the things that people like about Memorial. Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak and Beth-El College of Nursing both have been participating in this process and providing input.
A citizens’ commission met to figure out what to do with Memorial. One year, multiple document analyses and 50 meetings later, it was decided that Memorial should become an independent, locally-controlled non-profit.
In August, the City Council threw the idea out to organizations. Five organizations responded with their own bids for the hospital: Centura, University of Colorado, the current administration of Memorial Hospital, HealthONE and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. The five presented their proposals at a community meeting on Dec. 7.
The first organization to share its proposal was Centura. Centura insisted that their proposal doesn’t call for a takeover of Memorial, rather, a community health collaborative to bring value to healthier interactions.
“The beauty of it is we can make it whatever we want to make it. This is ours. This is Colorado Springs,” said Greg Campbell, CEO of Centura.
The second proposal was University of Colorado. The University plans to use Memorial to expand Beth-El College throughout the region. Memorial will become part of a new, unique Colorado health care system.
During this presentation, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said that there will be an absolute, specified commitment. If University of Colorado Health acquires Memorial, they will also support quality patient care.
Under this bid, Memorial would be used to hold clinical trials that will help bring better treatments more quickly to more patients. Beth-El noted that the change will be transformational for the community.
Memorial Hospital itself has also put in a bid. The organization noted that health care is the biggest industry in the country and is the industry with the second-highest job growth.
Newsome commented that Memorial’s proposal is the only one that is truly local.
“We think local control is key to ensure that the community’s needs remain first and that they don’t come into conflict with corporative directive from another community,” said Newsome.
He noted that any money that is made treating a patient gets reinvested into the community.
HealthONE and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLHS) were the final two presentations. HealthONE said that it has the strongest track record in improving quality patient care.
They plan to partner with our university for a medical school branch in Colorado Springs. HealthONE will also provide a residency program at Memorial and make it the top provider in the Pikes Peak region.
HealthONE has created 1,000 jobs in Colorado in the last four years because of increased patient demand.
SCLHS plan to form a board with local members that will hold full responsibility for quality, safety, and medical staff issues. SCLHS’ core mission is to deliver quality health care.
They will have a public health commitment of $1 million upfront and then $500,000 yearly.
Campbell pointed out that the decision of what to do with Memorial will be the biggest decision that the community has made in over a decade.
A city hall task force will be selecting one of these potential bidders to place on the spring ballot for Colorado Springs voters. Public input on this decision is encouraged; questions may be submitted to memorialtown[email protected] or by calling 385-5961.