Phil Castle, The Business Times
Dr. Chris Hampson advises those who ask him about where to go for specialized medical care to stay close to home whenever possible.
“Local care is better care,” said Hampson, a vascular and interventional radiologist in Grand Junction.
With the opening of a heart and vascular center at St. Mary’s Medical Center that offers additional procedures and treatments, local and better care is available, Hampson said. “We’re doing that here, and we’re doing that now. And it’s amazing.”
Hampson was among those who spoke at a grand opening celebration for the Heart & Vascular Institute, a 46,000-square-foot addition to the hospital campus.
Dr. Charlie Brunson, a cardiologist, said the institute constitutes what he called a “leap forward” in providing in Western Colorado care patients previously had to travel to Denver or Salt Lake City to receive. “These facilities make that possible. We will be upgrading the level of care here.”
From an economic standpoint, the benefits extend to an infusion from constructing a $48.5 million project and the ongoing contributions from operations.
In an even broader sense, Hampson said the institute adds to the attraction of the Grand Valley for people as well as businesses. “It makes Grand Junction a better place to be.”
The grand opening of the Heart & Vascular Institute on May 22 coincided with the 123rd anniversary of the day the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth opened St. Mary’s Hospital in 1896. The institute represents the latest and largest investment in health care for the organization since the patient tower at St. Mary’s opened in 2010, said Lydia Jumonville, chief executive officer of SCL Health.
The institute will serve an area within a 150-mile radius of Grand Junction and the 800,000 people who live in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, Jumonville said. “This represents a whole new level of care and service we can provide to our patients.”
The institute includes a hybrid operating room, three heart catheterization labs, 10 cardiac short stay medical suites, seven cardiac testing rooms, an electrophysiology lab and a cardiac rehabilitation gymnasium. A radial lounge allows for wrist catheter entry rather than groin entry.
Dr. Brian Davidson, president of St. Mary’s, said the institute will offer new technology and services, including heart valve implants.
Hampson said the institute will save not only lives, but also limbs in providing care for vascular diseases that will reduce amputation rates.
Davidson said a study conducted by the Grand Junction Economic Partnership calculated the economic contributions of constructing the institute topped $90 million. The institute will contribute $3.8 million a year to the Grand Valley on an ongoing basis.
Like Hampson, Davidson emphasized the benefits of opening facilities that provide health care close to home. “This is a special day for all of us.”