Yet another hospital system announced plans to build a new facility in Denver's booming suburbs, bringing to five the number of projects in the pipeline.
Exempla Healthcare, Denver, said it plans to open a $170 million, 175-bed community hospital in the northwest suburb of Lafayette by the second quarter of 2004. Two medical office buildings are planned, but their size has not yet been determined, said David Hamm, Exempla's vice president for shared services.
"We've had a major challenge with all of the hospitals being on divert (for emergency services)," Hamm said. "I think all of us (providers) are dealing with that common challenge. As we looked over the situation, we felt there was a community need."
Exempla anticipates selling bonds to pay for at least part of the project, but the system hasn't decided how much of the project will be funded by debt or when the bonds will be sold, Hamm said.
Not-for-profit Exempla also operates 480-bed Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver, and 335-bed Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Three separate projects have been announced for Denver's south suburbs, with all three planning to open in 2003. HealthOne, a six-hospital system half-owned by HCA, Nashville, plans to open Sky Ridge Medical Center, a $147 million, 106-bed hospital in Lone Tree. Centura Health, Englewood, Colo., a nine-hospital system jointly sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and PorterCare Adventist, both based in Denver, plans to build a 75-bed hospital in Parker that could be expanded to 200 beds. Also, Castle Rock (Colo.) Medical Group has plans for a 36-bed hospital in that town.
University of Colorado Hospital plans to leave its Denver campus for east suburban Aurora, where it will take over a former military base. The hospital already is offering cancer care and other outpatient services at the site and plans to open the initial phase of inpatient services there in 2003.
The construction boom comes after more than a decade of contraction in Denver. Since 1990, seven hospitals-including four acute-care facilities, two psychiatric hospitals and a podiatry hospital, with a total of nearly 1,000 beds-have closed. The last hospital to be built in the area was Centura's 106-bed Littleton (Colo.) Adventist Hospital, which opened in 1989. Precedent Health Center, a short-stay hospital that a group of physicians opened in a shuttered building, proved short-lived, closing in 1999 after only 14 months.
Colorado's certificate-of-need law expired in 1987.