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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 $25 and free Quick read more or view full article 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 aspenhospital.org/health-fairs. 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 treat cancer. The Quick read more or view full article 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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Population Health

September 27, 2018

How and why AVH is helping to make Aspen a healthier place for all

Every day seems to bring news of a major medical breakthrough in the diagnosis or treatment of disease. In the marble halls of Washington, D.C., and in statehouses across the nation, healthcare policy is hotly debated. Hospital systems, health insurance companies, physicians and nonprofit groups are constantly exploring ways to improve quality, cut costs, increase access to services, encourage healthy lifestyles and raise awareness of the benefits of preventive care.

These and other dynamics demonstrate how rapidly the U.S. healthcare industry in general and its delivery systems in particular are evolving. Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) is not immune to the effects of the evolution — and in fact, AVH is an active player in acknowledging its value, embracing its tenets, moving its conversations forward and advocating for the best interests of the hospital’s patients, community, providers and employees.


The Quadruple Aim and population health

In recent years, you may have heard discussions or Quick read more or view full article seen information about the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Quadruple Aim:
  • Improve quality of care and patient experience
  • Enhance physician engagement
  • Elevate population health status and wellness
  • Reduce cost
These are the objectives AVH has identified as key to transforming the health status for everyone in the community. “The Quadruple Aim is also central to our mission to make AVH ‘more than just a hospital,’” said Elaine Gerson, General Counsel, Chief Transformation Officer and Administrator of AVH Ambulatory Clinics. “The Quadruple Aim provides areas of focus that inform our decisions about the specific steps we can take to move our organization and community forward.”

Some of the steps AVH has identified can be categorized as promoting population health — that is, creating a healthier community for everyone. Among the strategies AVH is using to promote population health are:


Creating an integrated care network

Nationally, stakeholders in healthcare have sharpened their focus on the role of primary care providers (PCPs) as the backbone of population health management. PCPs serve as coordinators of all the care their patients receive, which means they are responsible for overseeing the quality and appropriateness of their patients’ care. For example, PCPs can ensure that a patient’s medical services are not duplicated by multiple specialists, (which can drive up costs), and the patient’s various medications do not interact (which can cause harmful side effects).

Because of the key role they play in patient health, AVH is actively recruiting more PCPs to the Aspen area. Some of them will be directly connected to AVH, while others will be indirectly connected to the hospital through group or individual practices as part of a clinically integrated network. To improve cost efficiency and maintain quality, network providers will follow standards of care, such as evidence-based protocols for high-cost diagnoses.


Launching an electronic health record and establishing the AVH Center for Medical Care


(Left to right): Mike Kimbel, Director of OrthoAspen; Elaine Gerson, General Counsel, Chief Transformation Officer and Administrator of AVH Ambulatory Clinics; and Anthony Peregretti, Director of Specialty Clinics, are working closely together and with AVH’s Information Technology team to launch an electronic health record for their respective clinics this fall.

Integration will also involve a new system of electronic communications — an electronic health record — scheduled to launch this fall for AVH’s subspecialty clinics in orthopedics, cardiology, otolaryngology and ophthalmology. These clinics are now part of the AVH Center for Medical Care, a new entity created to make care more convenient and cost-effective for patients.

Eventually, the electronic health record (and the Center) will expand to include PCPs. And through the electronic health record interface, both patients and providers will benefit from easier access to medical records. For patients, it offers a new standard for managing healthcare appointments and records: through the online patient portal and integrated Healow app.


Strengthening our presence in the midvalley

AVH has long provided healthcare services in the Basalt area. So far, however, AVH’s presence in the midvalley has not been centralized in a way that maximizes convenience for patients and cost efficiencies. For example, AVH has three facilities — After-Hours Medical Care, the Midvalley Surgery Center and the Midvalley Imaging Center — in Basalt.

As part of AVH’s population health strategy, the hospital plans to expand and centralize its presence in the midvalley with creation of a campus that will house multiple services. Currently, it is working to identify an appropriate location and determine which services will be part of the campus.


Managing health risk in the community

Imagine a person who is overweight, has high blood pressure, is prediabetic and does not see a PCP for regular checkups. Back in the day, hospitals usually did not play an active role in the life of a person with these types of health risks until he or she arrived via ambulance in the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack or other life-threatening conditions.

AVH recognizes that it is uniquely positioned to improve the information, tools and access people need to stay healthy — and that doing so is an integral part of the hospital’s mission and responsibility. Through outreach efforts such as health fairs, childbirth and diabetes education classes, the monthly “Walk With a Doc” series and other events, AVH is already making resources available to help everyone do their part to build a healthier community. Read Less
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COMMUNITY PICNIC DISHES UP FOOD & FUN FOR ALL!

September 20, 2018
THANK YOU to all Aspen Valley Hospital physicians, staff and volunteers who made the Fresh & Healthy Community Picnic a wonderful success! On a beautiful September day, we welcomed over 300 community members to the hospital for an afternoon full of delicious and nutritious food, fun for the kids and live music. Karen Maciejko, Trauma Program Manager, fit bike helmets for many grateful adults and kids. And Dr. Chris Miller answered questions about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles, sharing details on our Walk with a Doc and Plant-Based Recipe Swap programs.
 
A sincere thank you goes out to Deidre Hull of the Foundation for her help organizing the event, and to Kristy Bates and her Nutrition Services team for the incredible food.

We absolutely couldn’t have done it without our gracious team of volunteers who went above and beyond to make the afternoon special. Everyone pitched in to help with set-up, grilling, clearing tables, supervising kids’ activities and so much more.
 
Events Quick read more or view full article like the picnic are an extension of the warmth and caring AVH provides for our patients every day. We are honored to care for the Aspen community and are dedicated to making it the healthiest in the nation!

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August 28, 2018

After a big-hospital experience, patient recognizes the AVH difference

Few patients have a greater appreciation for Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) than John Runne. That’s because several years ago, he had total hip replacement surgery performed at a large hospital in Denver. The surgery seemed to go well. In the weeks afterward, however, John was diagnosed with a dangerous post-operative staph infection that left him unable to walk and required three additional surgeries, including a second replacement of the affected hip.

Carbondale resident John Runne felt like “a million bucks” after his hernia surgery and recovery at Aspen Valley Hospital.“I had a great deal of experience being at a big hospital,” John said. “It’s very trying to lose almost three years of your business career and activity with your family. It was a very depressing series of events.”

Eventually, John healed and was able to go on with his life. And then soon after Quick read more or view full article he and his wife moved to Carbondale in April 2017, he was diagnosed with a hernia. His primary physician referred him to Lesley Fraser, MD, General Surgeon at AVH, and friends seconded the recommendation.

Given the painful journey after his hip replacement in Denver, John admitted to having some trepidation about having surgery again. However, he scheduled a consultation. “All of my apprehensions went away as soon as I walked through the door and met Dr. Fraser,” John said. “From that point, I had no doubts, fears or concerns. It was pretty amazing. That was my first surprise!”

Other happy surprises were in store. For example, John was comforted to learn that AVH has a post-surgery infection rate far below state and national averages. On the day of his hernia surgery, he was “amazed at the care and kindness from every person on the staff, from the registration desk to the recovery room,” John said. “Having been in a large hospital where I had to hit a buzzer every time I needed help, I was really impressed to see the dedication and attention of the AVH staff.”

The surgery itself was a resounding success, with John reporting that he suffered no postoperative pain and “felt like a million bucks” just one week later. “All in all, my experience at AVH was phenomenal,” he said. “I came to the right place." Read Less
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