First-time parents grateful for ‘incredible’ AVH maternity care

November 30, 2018
First things first: Kellyn and Erik Wardell’s son, Henry, is now about eight months old, healthy and doing great. However, soon after he was born at the Aspen Birth Center at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), his health wasn’t quite as robust. Because he was delivered more than 24 hours after Kellyn’s labor started, Henry had a high risk of infection.

Initially, everything seemed fine. “He was happy, healthy and a little over 7 pounds,” Kellyn said. “I got to be with him right away, he took to breastfeeding and the first night was normal.”

The next day, Henry’s grandparents arrived and, in keeping with an AVH tradition for new parents, Kellyn and Erik were treated to a sumptuous dinner. Everything seemed primed for checkout Sunday morning.

Given the length of Kellyn’s labor, though, the Birth Center staff had monitored Henry’s health closely. Early Sunday, AVH Hospitalist Mike Goralka, Quick read more or view full article MD, ordered blood tests that showed a high level of infection. Henry also started spitting up and acting a little unusual, so he was moved to the nursery, placed in a warmer and started on intravenous antibiotics.

“That was tough,” Kellyn admitted. “He wasn’t in our room anymore; he was unhappy and on oxygen — and this was 48 hours after we had our first baby. As first-time parents, we were definitely emotional.”

At the same time, Kellyn knew her family was in good hands. “The hospital staff was so incredible, so amazing,” she said. “Erik and I felt so supported throughout. The staff did a tremendous job of making us feel comfortable and confident.”

By Monday, Henry had improved enough that he was moved back into his mom’s room where Dr. Goralka and the AVH staff could continue to monitor Henry’s status. By Wednesday, the family returned to their home in Carbondale.

“Henry’s situation ended up not being that serious, but the hospital staff was really cautious and always five steps ahead,” Kellyn said. “We’re very grateful to them.”

For more information about the Aspen Birth Center, including childbirth education classes, lactation services and other resources at AVH, please call 970.544.1130 or visit Read Less
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The best gets better

November 30, 2018

New HSS, OrthoAspen partnership ensures access to the most advanced orthopedic care

When does 1 + 1 = 1? When the nation’s top-rated musculoskeletal hospital partners with one of the nation’s top-rated orthopedic specialist groups to make both organizations even stronger.

That occurred on August 13, when the Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) Board of Directors approved a co-management relationship between AVH and its OrthoAspen orthopedic practice with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the New York-based orthopedic hospital that U.S. News & World Report has ranked No. 1 in orthopedic care for nine consecutive years.

As one of the world’s premiere communities for year-round sports activities, Aspen has long been a place where state-of-the-art orthopedic care was particularly important. For that reason, geography was also one of the factors that led to AVH/OrthoAspen becoming HSS’ first stand-alone partner. As HSS expands nationally and globally, partnering with OrthoAspen ensures that Aspen residents Quick read more or view full article and visitors will have access to the most advanced orthopedic care.

A convergence of cultures
The seeds for the agreement were planted nearly two decades ago, when several key individuals became acquainted through their association with Aspen. One was Todd J. Albert, MD, now Surgeon-In-Chief at HSS, who over the course of frequent visits to Aspen formed a lasting relationship with Tomas Pevny, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at OrthoAspen. In addition, a few members of the HSS Board of Directors had second homes in Aspen.

All of those natural ties informed the formal discussions that began about a year ago when Louis A. Shapiro, President and CEO of HSS, reached out to AVH about HSS and AVH/OrthoAspen establishing a relationship.

“The timing was right — we were looking for someone who had experience in improving practice efficiencies,” Dr. Pevny said [pictured at left]. “Moving forward, we are interested in having a teaching and research role. Plus, if OrthoAspen gets to the point of needing to hire a subspecialist in orthopedics, HSS could help us identify an ideal candidate. In every way, this association is good for us and the Aspen community.”

Waqqar Khan-Farooqi, MD, Medical Director of OrthoAspen, agreed [pictured at right]. “As the organizations began exploring partnership possibilities, the agreement felt more and more natural and organic,” he said. “Both are nonprofit hospitals with long histories of community service and a commitment to providing the best possible care for their patients.” 

“Our physicians and AVH’s physicians know each other and have mutual respect, and we started to have a natural dialogue,” Shapiro added [pictured below]. “This is a relationship where two organizations can come together to take something already outstanding to the highest level.” 

A bridge to a healthier future
The partnership will create a “medical bridge” between HSS and AVH with specific goals of improving orthopedic care, research, training and innovation. Transforming those goals into reality will involve clinical knowledge transfer, medical staff development, practice quality enhancement, professional education and academic programming.

Consider this: In 2017, HSS staff treated more than 135,000 patients and performed more than 31,000 surgical procedures. With such vast and ever-growing experience, HSS is uniquely positioned to make recommendations to AVH in areas such as clinical policies and procedures that can improve cost efficiency, quality, outcomes and overall patient experience.

“OrthoAspen has exceptionally well-trained physicians. What they don’t have is access to the massive knowledge that exists at HSS because of our history and volumes,” Shapiro said. “Everything about clinical practice is knowledge you get from seeing the same things over and over again. AVH will have access to all that information; it will seep into the organization and help extraordinary doctors become even more extraordinary.”

Many areas of cooperation
With the agreement in place, HSS will send a team to assess AVH/OrthoAspen from an operational standpoint and determine how to begin sharing people, knowledge, data and more.

While HSS physicians probably won’t provide direct care in Aspen, they will be available for consultations. Also, AVH/ OrthoAspen may host HSS residents and fellows, and AVH/OrthoAspen staff may spend time at HSS facilities observing procedures, performing research and accessing educational programs.

“This is an exciting time for all of us at OrthoAspen,” Dr. Khan-Farooqi said. “We’re eager to tap into HSS’ innovative, high-quality, research-oriented culture and implement best practices in caring for orthopedic patients.”

Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations:

Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Road, Suite 2100
Aspen, CO 81611

Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Road, Suite 201
Basalt, CO 81621

To book an appointment in Aspen or Basalt, please call 970.544.1289 or visit Read Less
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The Midvalley’s Milestone Anniversary

October 31, 2018
A member of Aspen Valley Hospital’s network of care, the Midvalley Surgery Center in Basalt is celebrating a milestone: 20 years of serving patients in the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding communities.

The Surgery Center first opened its doors in July of 1998 as a partnership between Orthopedic Associates of Aspen & Glenwood and Aspen Valley Hospital. The Center began by offering orthopedic surgery and pain management procedures and has since added GI procedures and general surgery. The Center was established to provide the community with an important alternative to traditional hospital surgical care at a lower cost, and today maintains that original mission in addition to expanded services. With advances in technology and anesthesia techniques, the Center now provides increasingly complex surgeries and procedures on an outpatient basis. It’s no surprise then, that since 1998, the Center has performed over 13,000 surgeries!

All Midvalley surgeons, anesthesia personnel and specialists are also credentialed and practice at Aspen Valley Hospital and/or Quick read more or view full article Valley View Hospital. The nursing staff is highly trained in perioperative nursing, and all staff are committed to education, learning and remaining abreast of current advancements in patient care. 

The Surgery Center is accredited by both The Joint Commission and the State of Colorado. In addition, the Center maintains a low infection rate of less than 0.1% and maintains a high rate of patient satisfaction. In 2015, the Surgery Center became solely owned by Aspen Valley Hospital. Its mission—a dedication to high-quality healthcare in a caring and cost-effective environment—has guided the Center’s first 20 years and will continue to guide it into the future as Aspen Valley Hospital continues to add specialties and technologies to better serve patients.

The Midvalley Surgery Center proudly celebrates its 20-year service to the community on November 14, 2018, in conjunction with Roaring Fork Physical Therapy. All are invited to join in the celebration and enjoy an open house from 4 – 6 p.m.

The Midvalley Surgery Center is located at 1450 East Valley Road, Suite 202, Basalt, CO 81621. Read Less
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3 Reasons to consider attending a health fair

September 27, 2018
From free screenings to important blood tests, health fairs provide services that cost less than a doctor’s office visit

Roaring Fork Valley residents who have seen insurance premiums skyrocket in recent years are used to shopping around for the best health care deals, which is why attending a health fair should be high up on the list of ways to save money on healthcare.

Open to the public, health fairs offer important healthcare services such as blood draws that test cholesterol, blood sugar, kidney and liver function, among other important metabolic functions.

Aspen Valley Hospital hosts several health fairs throughout the year, including the upcoming Midvalley Health Fair on Saturday, October 13.

Here are three reasons why you should consider attending a health fair.
1. Free or reduced-cost services
The Midvalley Health Fair is offering its Health Fair Profile for $65, which tests 32 metabolic functions. A colorectal cancer screening kit will run $25, flu shots are Quick read more or view full article $25 and free screenings include blood pressure checks, vision checks and screening for height, weight and body mass index. “The same testing you find at the health fair would likely cost hundreds of dollars outside of this opportunity,” said Jennifer Slaughter, Aspen Valley Hospital spokeswoman. While anyone can attend a health fair, Aspen Valley Hospital recommends those with insurance to check their benefits before participating because not all plans cover health fair screenings.
2. Blood draws and lab tests
The 32 metabolic functions tested in the Health Fair Profile include blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, kidney and liver function, complete blood count, thyroid stimulating hormone and more, Slaughter said. A cardio c-reactive protein test checks for elevated levels of the protein that can indicate vascular inflammation, which can lead to clogged arteries. Prostate-specific antigen tests are recommended annually for men over the age of 50 and will be offered for $35 at the health fair. A Vitamin D test for $45 will measure nutritional and sunshine absorption levels of the vitamin to determine whether the patient has a deficiency.

Other free screenings for things like blood pressure and vision will also be offered. “These are important health markers for people who might not ‘know their numbers,’” Slaughter said. “Our mission is to put information in the hands of the individual so that he or she is empowered to take charge of their own health.”
3. Quality healthcare and education
Dedicated healthcare providers, physician assistants and nurses will be on hand to service health fair participants. Information stations at the health fair will complement blood draws and free screenings, offering attendees information on the various services offered through the hospital, including the After-Hours Medical Care clinic, and the Midvalley Surgery & Imaging Centers. Additional information will be offered by community partners Aspen Strong, Alcoholics Anonymous, Response and more.
Interested in a health fair blood draw?
Anyone looking to have their blood drawn and tested at the Midvalley Health Fair should register online prior to the event at Walk-ins on the day of the event are welcome, but appointments are encouraged. Online registration closes Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. All payments for services at the health fair must be made with CASH OR CHECK only. Anyone interested only in free screenings should arrive an hour before the event closes.

The Midvalley Health Fair is Saturday, Oct. 13 at the El Jebel Community Center, 0020 Eagle County Dr., from 8 to 11 a.m.
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The Breast Center at Aspen Valley Hospital

September 27, 2018

Expert breast health services closer to home.

Call it the “backyard advantage.” For women in the midvalley, the need for many breast health services used to mean a long drive to and from Denver. But now, the Breast Center at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) offers comprehensive breast cancer screening, iagnoses and treatment options close to home.

“The need for breast care services in our area is increasing every year,” said Heather Milne, RN, Nurse Navigator of the Breast Center. “The population here is changing and growing. Twenty-five years ago, the population was much younger overall; now we have a broader spectrum of ages of women who can benefit from having these services available locally.”

A major commitment to our community

The Breast Program represents a significant commitment for AVH. Plans for its development began to take shape about four years ago and have included adding dedicated staff and upgrading and expanding the technology to diagnose and Quick read more or view full article treat cancer. The goal is to have as complete a suite of services as possible.

“We’d like to take care of women from the time of diagnosis through treatment and to do so in our patients’ home community,” said Betsy Brew, MD, FACS, Breast Care Surgeon with AVH and the Denver-based group, Surgical Specialists of Colorado. “Staying in the comfort of your home and not making those long drives when you don’t feel well are important advantages for our patients.”

Big-city quality, small-town comforts

Many of the program’s professionals, including radiologists from Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA), are based in Denver and visit Aspen regularly to provide care. And Dr. Brew was quick to note the AVH Breast Center's equipment is also comparable — and even superior — to that found in many major medical centers. For example, she said that wholebreast ultrasounds, an important screening tool for women with dense breast tissue, are available at AVH but not at some of the state’s largest hospitals.

AVH’s program also offers state-of-the-art 3D mammograms for every patient, as well as breast MRIs, stereotactic biopsies and a comprehensive array of other diagnostic and treatment radiology services. One hallmark of AVH’s program is its multidisciplinary approach, from the close involvement of a patient’s primary care physician to the presence of the nurse navigator to act as the patient’s champion along the patient’s unique care path. Other established AVH medical services — such as the infusion center, medical oncology, oncology rehabilitation and breast reconstruction — complement the newer additions. Other services such as nutrition counseling, lymphedema care, genetic counseling and psychosocial support help our patients regain strength to move forward and live well.

So far, the response from patients has been completely positive. “They love it,” Dr. Fraser said. “Truly, they are glad to have top-quality breast care close to home and to know that we are here to help them through their journey of healing.”

For more information about the Breast Center at Aspen Valley Hospital, please visit the Breast Center page of our website or call 970.544.1420. Read Less
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