At the center of care: Fruita facility opens

Phil Castle, The Business Times

The opening of a 20,000-square foot addition finally adds the medical center to what’s long been called the Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center.

The decade-long wait to construct the center was worth it, though, says Lori Randall, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer of Family Health West, which operates the Fruita hospital. “It’s a very, very big deal.”

Lori Randall

Dr. Korrey Klein, president and chief executive officer of Family Health West, agrees. Klein says relocating procedure and therapy facilities, as well as several medical practices to the center, offers patients the convenience of a one-stop shop.

Moreover, the center builds on the efforts of Family Health West to offer quality health care services not only to residents of the lower Grand Valley, but also the Western Slope and beyond, he says.

As a physician who still cares for patients on a part-time basis, Klein says that’s important. “I value the quality of care patients receive.”

The medical center opened in mid-August in a two-story addition to the hospital. The opening followed about 10 months of construction on the $8 million project.

The first floor of the center includes an outpatient adult rehabilitation facility and two pain-centered medical practices in RedRock Integrative Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Specialists of the Rockies.

The second floor of the center houses an outpatient procedure facility. Western Rockies Interventional Pain Specialists, another medical practice, relocated to the center to treat patients at the facility.

The second floor also includes 6,000 square feet of vacant space expected to house orthopedic services.

Health care services and medical practices previously located elsewhere — including a strip mall in Fruita — were moved into the medical center and closer to the hospital and its equipment and staff.

“It’s easier on the patients and it’s easier on the staff and physicians,” Randall says.

Physicians are sometimes called to care for a patient at the hospital, and the trip is a shorter and quicker one from the center, Randall says.

The adult rehabilitation facility, one of the largest in the region, offers physical, occupational and speech therapy services for a variety of injuries and conditions.

The physicians and services at the medical center also focus on a variety traditional and nontraditional pain management techniques that include joint injections, spinal cord stimulation and stem cell therapy as well as acupuncture, nutrition counseling and osteopathic manipulation. The center opens at a time when health care providers strive to manage pain in their patients without the use of opioid medications.

The services offered at the center add to other health care niches Family Health West has developed, Randall and Klein say.

Family Health West expanded the Colorado Canyons Hospital to accommodate so-called transitional patients who no longer require intensive care, but still need rehabilitation and other services. St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction collaborates in the effort in aligning its patient care with the program.

Klein says Colorado Canyons Hospital receives referrals for transitional care not only from the Grand Valley, but also elsewhere in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Family Health West also offers a range of elder care services and operates two assisted-living facilities, Randall says.

An arthritis center reduced average wait times for patients to see a rheumatologist from six months to three weeks, Klein said.

The medical center opens as Klein begins his new role as president and CEO, only the fourth in the 75-year history of Family Health West. Klein succeeded Mark Francis, who retired after a career in the construction and health care sectors.

Klein joined Family Health West in 2018 as vice president of medical services and chief medical officer. He’d previously practiced family medicine in Western Colorado and been involved in health care administration. He earned his medical degree from the University of Colorado and completed his residency in Grand Junction.

Klein says his work and perspective as a doctor helps in making good decisions as an administrator.

The opening of the 20,000-square foot addition finally adds the medical center to the Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center. But the opening also builds on a legacy for an organization founded to provide health care to the community. Local farmers and ranchers drove to Utah and brought back loads of bricks and supplies to build the original hospital.

“There’s a desire for the lower valley to have services close to home,” Klein says.

A grand opening for the medical center at the Colorado Canyons Hospital at 300 W. Ottley Ave. in Fruita is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 in conjunction with an after hours event for the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce.