UCHealth Greeley will provide NCMC’s first direct competition | MyWindsorNow.com
Sharon Dunn
sdunn@greeleytribune.com

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UCHealth Greeley will provide NCMC’s first direct competition

Marilyn Schock

UCHealth names Greeley hospital chief

Marilyn Schock, who has been the chief of Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, will be the president of UCHealth Greeley Hospital.

Schock, of Windsor, has spent 25 years in health care leadership in northern Colorado, according to a news release. She has served as chief operating officer at Medical Center of the Rockies Poudre Valley Hospital since 2014. Schock will continue to serve the role of chief operating officer at those hospitals until a replacement is hired, the release said.

Schock’s new position as the president of UCHealth Greeley Hospital is effective Monday.

The campus will feature a health center with outpatient services. Schock will work with leaders from UCHealth’s medical group — Colorado Health Medical Group — as that project gets under way.

Schock is a graduate of Colorado State University. She began her health care career as an occupational therapist at McKee Medical Center in 1986, the release stated. She served in leadership roles at Banner Health facilities, including director of rehabilitation services, regional director of managed care operations, executive director of Mountain Shadows Medical Association and associate administrator at both McKee Medical Center in Loveland and North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley before her placement as chief executive officer at McKee in 2009, the release stated.

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Major health care changes in northern Colorado

» October 2015: Neighbor’s Health System announces a 24-hour freestanding emergency department at 2009 35th Ave. The 8,600-square-foot facility is planned for a fall 2016 opening. Construction is almost complete.

» Oct. 30, 2015: UCHealth opens UCHealth Emergency Room, a 17,000-square-foot facility just west of Banner’s new hospital at 4630 Snow Mesa Drive off of Harmony in south Fort Collins. Cost was $12.3 million, with 12 rooms a lab and a 24-hour pharmacy.

» April 6, 2015: Banner Health opens its Banner Fort Collins Medical Center, a two-story, 146,000-square-foot facility, and a full-service, acute care hospital. The site is on 28 acres at 4700 Lady Moon Drive, off of Harmony in south Fort Collins. The cost was $86 million, and the hospital opened with 22 patient beds and three operating rooms.

» Nov. 17, 2012: UCHealth opens Greeley Emergency and Surgery Center at 6906 10th St.

» Aug. 1, 2012: Banner North Colorado Emergency Care opens at 71st Avenue and 20th Street in Greeley.

» February 2007: Medical Center of the Rockies opens in Loveland.

» 2005: NCMC finishes its Second-Century Project, which rebuilt the main hospital. The project included more surgery suites, the Cardiovascular Institute, and expanded the Monfort Family Birth Center.

» 2004: NCMC opened its Cancer Institute, along with its pedestrian bridge and parking garage.

» 2003: NCMC expands and builds a new emergency department.

It's not even out of the ground, and Greeley's second hospital is well on its way to serving thousands of residents this side of Interstate 25 — and posing some stiff competition for the home team.

The UCHealth Greeley hospital, which will be under construction next spring in southwest Greeley in the St. Michael's subdivision, will offer the first direct competition for patients to North Colorado Medical Center, which has served Greeley on its own for 100 years.

Residents will have another choice for care close to home, an idea not lost on NCMC's new chief, Margo Karsten, CEO of Banner Health Northern Colorado. Phoenix-based Banner Health manages locally owned NCMC.

Karsten said the competition factor is part of today's health care reality, and the new hospital will push NCMC to continue to work to keep physicians, staff and patients happy.

"Across the nation we're seeing competition in various communities," said Karsten, who came on board two months ago. "The best work we can do is provide the best care. What I'm most proud of at NCMC is it's been in the community over 100 years, and it's ranked in the top 50 in country. We know everyone has a choice."

Officials with Aurora-based UCHealth announced the Greeley location in June, while NCMC was undergoing its third major renovation in recent years. This latest remodel is a $60 million project to upgrade the hospital's existing building, which was originally build in 1952. The three-year project is nearing completion.

UCHealth officials opted to open in Greeley, citing an existing patient load of 65,000 in the Greeley and Weld County area. The health system states in the last two years, it has admitted 6,000 Greeley-area patients into its hospitals.

"Our main goal is to provide services close to home, and provide a full-tier hospital close to home," said Marilyn Schock, who was named Thursday as the president of UCHealth Greeley.

The UCHealth Greeley Hospital is set to provide 53 inpatient beds, an intensive care unit, an emergency department, operating rooms, advanced cardiology services and a birthing center, according to a news release.

The $185 million UCHealth campus sits on 22 acres southeast of U.S. 34 and 71st Avenue. A three-story 112,000-square-foot medical office building will be the first to go up, with construction planned to start early next year. UCHealth physicians located at the Greeley Medical Clinic on 16th Street, across the street from North Colorado Medical Center, will move over to the southwest Greeley location when it opens in 2018, Schock said. The move will create a "multi-disciplinary" medical office building, she said. UCHealth will continue to provide a walk-in clinic, primary care services and occupational health services at the Concordia Building on the Greeley Medical Clinic campus. Next year, UCHealth will work on a separate $1 million renovation of this facility, which will include about 15 exam rooms, improved imaging and lab capabilities.

Construction on the hospital should begin next spring.

Schock said Medical Center of the Rockies, UCHealth's hospital in Loveland, is packed, and opening a Greeley hospital will serve as a relief valve.

"Because of the numbers we see out of Greeley, this will help support the growth of the new hospital, and provide a little bit of room for Medical Center of the Rockies," Schock said. "This will allow (patients) to stay not only closer to home, but when we look at our service area at-large, it will help support additional growth we're seeing at MCR as well."

NCMC's latest project started three years ago and is nearing completion after rehabbing the oldest part of the building, plus revamping air conditioning and electrical systems, and improved technology and computer systems, plus adding a new laboratory and an inpatient pharmacy, to name a few.

Karsten said NCMC continues to adequately meet Greeley's needs. It is licensed for 378 beds, and on any given day has an average of about 150 patients, with a 190- to 200-bed capacity. She said should would question UCHealth stating it serves 65,000 patients in the greater Greeley area.

"We have capacity to meet the community needs. I don't know from a business perspective what they were looking at," Karsten said of the UCHealth numbers. "We certainly have capacity. We've not turned any patients away from critical care."

Karsten said a recent hospital engagement survey at NCMC showed the hospital scored in the 85th percentile of the staff being highly engaged — a figure she's never seen before.

"That translates to higher quality, higher patient safety and that really is a market differentiator for us," Karsten said. "I've not seen such a high level of engagement in a decade of doing this work."