UCH proposal unanimous choice of Memorial Task Force

City Council formally receives recommendation Jan. 9
By Staff

The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) is leading a partnership group that was unanimously selected for consideration to operate Colorado Springs’ Memorial Hospital, which is now run by the city.

The Memorial System Task Force, after considering bids from five health systems, forwarded the UCH bid to the Colorado Springs City Council on Monday as the consensus choice. The council will formally receive the recommendation on Jan. 9, considering it before determining next steps.

The proposal to lease and operate Memorial was made by UCH and northern Colorado’s Poudre Valley Health System, which are nearing the formation of a new hospital system. They were joined by Children’s Hospital Colorado, which would operate a specialty “hospital within a hospital” at Memorial, and the University of Colorado. The proposal also would fund a branch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

“Our whole team is honored to continue the conversation with Colorado Springs regarding Memorial’s bright future as part of our University of Colorado Health System,” said Bruce Schroffel, president and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital. “We look forward to the opportunity to expand our long-standing relationship with the Pikes Peak region through support for Memorial’s already excellent medical staff, expanded educational opportunities and greater economic development.”

The city council will consider the task force’s recommendation in the coming weeks. During the vetting process, task force members singled out the UCH Colorado-based nonprofit system for the mission and values it shares with Memorial. Task force members also said they were impressed by the quality of care and educational excellence represented in the partnership, as well as by the branch medical campus that the partnership would establish.

“UCCS has always stood for expanding educational opportunity in our community and the entire Pikes Peak region,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak. “This partnership will allow us to help create the next generation of doctors right here in Colorado Springs. Additionally, it will enhance our already strong nursing programs and might ultimately lead to a fully realized health care campus.”

Besides the financial terms of the package, the UCH proposal also anticipates the new system would bring the region economic development benefit valued at $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion annually.

“I believe the University of Colorado has a proven track record that will make these projected economic benefits a reality,” said Kyle Hybl, chairman of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. “These aren’t just numbers. We’ve already created a winning economic model on the Anschutz Medical Campus.”

Task force members focused attention on care for members of the military and their families, the alignment of mission and values among the partners in the new University of Colorado Health System and ensuring charity care.

“One of the cornerstones of our proposal is a clear and unequivocal commitment to care for our military service members and their families through TriCare,” said Lilly Marks, chair of the University of Colorado Hospital Board of Directors and executive vice chancellor of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “As the second-largest TriCare provider in the state, we know the economics and we fully understand the commitment we’re making. Our commitment to providing charity care to our communities is also unwavering.”