Twelve hospitals have formed a fourth Colorado network, which will cover more ground than its competitors.The new HealthCare Colorado includes the last independent general hospitals in Denver: 209-bed Children's, 313-bed Denver General and 316-bed University.The other 13 general hospitals in metropolitan Denver belong to either for-profit Columbia/HealthOne, religious Centura Health or primary-care driven Primera Healthcare. Only Centura operates hospitals outside metropolitan Denver in Canon City, Colorado Springs and Pueblo.HealthCare Colorado is much broader, with hospitals in nine cities other than Denver. It also includes a nursing home in Akron a nd home-care agencies throughout eastern Colorado. Negotiations are under way with providers in western Colorado.The not-for-profit corporation doesn't involve a merger of assets. It will coordinate managed-care contracts and possi bly other joint efforts, such as group purchasing."We have begun to feel the impact of Denver-metro consolidation by being excluded from corporate contracts despite prior relationships," said Hank Kugeler, board chairman of 206-b ed Boulder (Colo.) Community Hospital, which is about 30 miles northwest of Denver. "All of these are little nibbles, but they are wholly uncomfortable."To flourish, the network must make contracting easy, said Claire Brockbank, vice president of the Alliance, a buying group of several hundred Colorado employers. "These hospitals have a unique, community-based perspective. But (their success) will depend on how much cohesiveness they develop," Brockbank said.The other HealthCare Colorado participants are 340-bed Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs; 249-bed Parkview Episcopal Medical Center, Pueblo; 85-bed San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, Alamosa; and Western Plains Health Network, which includes five northeastern Colorado hospitals and the Akron nursing home.
THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE;CONSOLIDATIONS;4TH COLO. HOSPITAL NETWORK FORMED
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