Orthopedics and sports medicine practice also joining hospital

Dr. Mitchell Copeland
Dr. Mitchell Copeland

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Dr. Mitch Copeland doesn’t expect patients to notice any major differences after the orthopedic and sports medicine practice with which he’s longed worked joins Community Hospital in Grand Junction.

One of the differences to which Copeland said he’s looking forward is the additional time he’ll have to spend with those patients. “I still love practicing. I still love taking care of people. I still consider it a privilege to do it.”

Western Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is scheduled to join Community Hospital July 1. The hospital purchased the physical assets of the practice. Seven physicians and a total of about 50 employees of the practice will join the hospital staff.

Chris Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Community Hospital, welcomed the opportunity to continue the relationship with the practice in a new way. “They’ve been our partners for years.”

Western Orthopedics was among the participants in a collaboration with the hospital to build a medical office building — well before construction began on the new hospital next door. “I believed in what we were doing,” Copeland said.

Copeland said a change was required to cope with increasing regulatory costs and decreasing reimbursement rates. The hospital will offer support services and economies of scale that will relieve the practice of administrative functions and reduce overhead. The move also will make it easier to recruit new physicians, he said.

Other things won’t change, though, including the services Western Orthopedics provides in serving as the team physicians to athletes with Colorado Mesa University and the Grand Junction Rockies.