Health

New hospital in Highlands Ranch expected to bring more services, jobs to the community

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The hospital being built in Highlands Ranch's Central Park development will offer a Level III trauma center and a specialized focus on oncology, orthopedic and women's services, including a birthing center and neonatal intensive-care unit.

Details about the UCHealth 77-bed hospital, which broke ground in January and is slated for completion in January 2019, were presented by UCHealth officials April 19 at a Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The 340,000-square-foot hospital campus will cover the southeast parcel of the 100-acre development known as Central Park, which sits east of Lucent Boulevard, west of Barrons Boulevard and north of Town Center.

​Surrounding the hospital's six-story patient tower will be a healing garden for patients, a medical office building, parking decks and space for expansion. The rest of the Central Park development, owned by Shea Properties, will have 200 single-family homes, a regional park, a communication tower for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and retail, recreation and commercial buildings.

The hospital will be the "anchor of the area," chamber president Andrea LaRew said at the luncheon, held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Plaza Drive.

UCHealth determined that Highlands Ranch was an optimal location based on demographics and the population growth of surrounding areas, said Diane Cookson, president of UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital.

The population of Douglas County grew from 285,465 people in 2010 to 322,387 residents in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sterling Ranch, a large community under construction east of Highlands Ranch, is expected to bring more than 30,000 people in the next 20 years.

But Cookson raised concerns about transportation for low-wage employees who cannot afford housing in Highlands Ranch. She said she hopes to work with other businesses and organizations in the community, such as Children's Hospital Colorado and the Regional Transportation District, to look at options, one of which could be utilizing a shuttle from the light rail station on Mineral Avenue to the hospital campus.

The hospital also will provide 500 to 600 construction jobs and 400 new, permanent jobs once it is completed. Outside physicians will be able to apply for hospital privileges or the use of facilities and equipment.

Besides the Level III trauma center - which provides 24-hour coverage by emergency physicians, prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists and transfer agreements for patients who need more comprehensive care - the hospital will have primary care, operating rooms, advanced cardiac services and a 24-hour outpatient pharmacy.

At the forefront of services will be women's, oncology and orthopedic, Cookson said. The hospital will be equipped with a birthing center, postpartum beds, a neonatal intensive-care unit, complete imaging services and a cancer center.

The cancer center will offer multi-disciplinary care for its patients, meaning the patient will receive opinions from his or her different doctors in one room, at one time, without having to travel to other medical campuses.

"It takes a team-focused on the patient to get the optimal response," said Thomas Purcell, the hospital's medical oncologist and chief medical officer.

Patients will also have access to National Cancer Institute Clinical research trials, Purcell said.

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