Source: Denver Post

JEFFERSON COUNTY — Work on a new microhospital in south Jefferson County is progressing, and the new facility should be open and serving patients by late spring.

The small hospital at 8515 W. Coal Mine Ave. is being built on land that was previously owned by the Foothills Park and Recreation District and sold to Houston-based Emerus to build the hospital in partnership with SCL Health, a faith-based nonprofit out of Broomfield.

A microhospital is a facility that provides many of the services of a large hospital, but on a smaller scale. This hospital will have an emergency room, operating rooms, eight inpatient care rooms and nine examination rooms.

“I think it will add a lot to a community that looks at having to travel long distances,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Don Rosier, who represents the area. “It can really fit a nice niche.”

Microhospitals range in size from 15,000 to 50,000 square feet. This site will be just over 37,000 square feet. Emerus is opening four microhospitals with SCL Health in the metro area and all will be named SCL Health Community Hospital. Additional locations are in Westminster, Northglenn and Aurora. The Westminster location opened in November, while the Northglenn and Aurora hospitals should open sometime this fall.

SCL Health has hospitals in three states, including Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge and Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton.

According to Emerus spokesman Richard Bonnin, south Jefferson County was chosen for a microhospital location because the company conducted research and determined a need in the area.

Swedish Southwest Emergency Room is about a mile away near the intersection of South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Bowles Avenue, and there are other walk-in emergency rooms in the vicinity. The closest large hospitals are Littleton Adventist, Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood and Lutheran.

Bonnin noted the microhospital will offer primary care, surgery, imaging and pediatric care. It also will accept all patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay, including Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. The microhospital is fully licensed.

The hospital is one of a few medical facilities slated to open in the Jefferson County area in the near future, including medical offices and an emergency care center at Kipling Parkway and Coal Mine at the site of the old Fun City entertainment complex.

County case manager Heather Gutherless said that facility is still a ways from breaking ground, but that the need in the area for multiple facilities could come from complaints of long wait times at nearby emergency care facilities.

Insurance could also be a factor, as some facilities only accept certain kinds.

“They may be popping up to meet the needs of different insurance companies,” Gutherless said. “They serve a different niche than some of these other ones.”

Gutherless was not the case manager for the SCL Health Community Hospital. That case manager is no longer with the county.

Rosier noted that it will be interesting to see how all of these care facilities coexist with one another and which ones set themselves apart. He said he is excited to see how everything plays out in the community.

He said: “When you look at the demographic, there must be a need in that area.”