UCHealth continues growing with new health system merger
Colorado-based healthcare providers UCHealth and Yampa Valley Medical Center will merge to form an eight-hospital network and continue to grow UCHealth's reach, the providers announced Thursday.
The not-for-profit providers signed an agreement to merge that said the deal will improve care and expand patient access through integration and enhanced telemedicine solutions.
In the agreement, Aurora-based UCHealth pledged more than $105 million to revamp Steamboat Springs-based Yampa Valley's systems and infrastructure. The providers expect to complete their integration, pending regulatory approval, in the summer.
"YVMC will soon be able to improve access to and coordination of healthcare for our patients," Yampa Valley CEO Frank May said in a statement. "Patient-centered, personalized care will continue at YVMC as we all work together to improve the health of individuals, our community and the value of healthcare."
The healthcare industry has been rapidly consolidating as providers acquire hospitals and physician practices to gain scale, streamline care to satisfy new reimbursement models and improve outcomes. Executives claim they can work more effectively and efficiently as one entity while critics are concerned that healthcare costs will increase as combined providers use their leverage to negotiate better rates with payers.
UCHealth's $105 million investment in Yampa Valley includes additional behavioral health and substance abuse resources, expanded emergency department resources, infrastructure improvements and electronic medical record integration through Epic. It also includes a donation to Yampa Valley's foundation.
Yampa Valley patients will have access to UCHealth's virtual platform, My Health Connection, which aims to improve access and keep the population healthier, executives said.
Yampa Valley said its board will continue to provide local governance and support community organizations.
UCHealth is also in the middle of an expansion plan that includes building five community hospitals. It opened UCHealth Broomfield Hospital and UCHealth Grandview Hospital in recent months and plans to open UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital in August.
UCHealth and Yampa Valley signed a letter of intent to merge in March. UCHealth has more than 100 clinic locations and seven hospitals and is looking to add Yampa Valley's 39-bed acute-care hospital.
"We'll be looking for opportunities to continue YVMC's growth and tradition of excellence while adding new services and access to specialists for patients in this region," Elizabeth Concordia, UCHealth's CEO, said in a statement.
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