Aspen Valley hospital braces for changing landscape in 2022


Aspen Valley hospital executives expect a negative impact on the facility’s results in 2022.

In anticipation of the planned March debut of the Vail-based Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute – a 65,000-square-foot, three-story building currently under construction in downtown Willits in Basalt – hospital officials have forecast a decrease of 70% in 2022 orthopedic sales compared to the performance of this year.

“The impact is an outflow of $ 20 million in surgical revenue,” AVH CEO David Ressler said at the hospital’s board meeting on Dec. 13, noting that the “point This year’s peak in orthopedic income is 34% higher than in orthopedics. revenues generated in 2019.

“This is a significant impact that we anticipate since we began our partnership discussions with the Steadman Clinic,” Ressler told the board.

Orthopedics is one of the main drivers of AVH’s activity, accounting for almost 37% of its revenues for patients. The emergency department is next at 22.2%, with primary care third at 10.9%, according to hospital financial data.

This pie chart shows the patient revenue sources for Aspen Valley Hospital. (Image courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital)

AVH entered into a partnership with the Steadman Clinic on December 1, 2020, and the two entities currently operate an orthopedic center on the second floor of the hospital. That space, known as the Steadman Clinic at Aspen Valley Hospital, will remain open, but Willits’ location is set to be a game-changer for orthopedic offerings in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It will definitely be an attraction for people across the country,” Ressler told the board.

The project is a collaboration between the Steadman Clinic, Orthopedic Care Partners, Aspen Valley Hospital and Vail Health.

The Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute will be located in a three-story building currently under construction in Basalt, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2022. (Courtesy of Steadman Clinic)

“When this surgery center generates profits,” Ressler said of the Willits facility in an interview Thursday, “we will receive 25% of our share of the profits.”

Budget 2022 was passed last week by the hospital’s board of directors and forecasts total patient revenues of $ 147.5 million, which would be $ 17.1 million lower than the 164.6 million dollars planned by the end of this year. After meeting its financial obligations, the hospital expects net patient services revenue of $ 99.1 million in 2022, which would prevent $ 9.4 million from the $ 108.5 million forecast in 2021 .

Total operating revenue is budgeted at $ 103.3 million for 2022, down $ 8.7 million from the $ 112 million expected to close this year.

“It was the most difficult budget that any of us on the leadership team can remember ever being involved in,” Ressler told the board last week, “and of course we l ‘have also said last year and it has always exceeded last year. “

Hospital authorities also expect spending to increase in 2022, mainly due to an overall 5% salary increase totaling $ 3.1 million, from the $ 15.8 million implementation of the software. of Epic medical records and an additional $ 9.9 million budgeted for capital improvements.

“This is going to have a dramatic effect on our budgets… and ultimately on our cash reserves,” Ressler told the board of directors of Epic’s deployment.

Patients stayed longer at AVH – which is a public hospital backed by a voter-approved millet tax and overseen by an elected five-member board of directors – as evidenced by a 20.5% increase in the length of the clinic. stay until October of this year compared to the first 10 months of 2020, and increase of 31.5% compared to 2019.

While AVH has not struggled with the high volumes of COVID-19 patients seen at other hospitals, these patients “tend to have very long lengths of stay,” Ressler told the board. , adding that “the practical implications are that we have patients here for a longer period of time, and so this has also contributed to a longer length of stay.

The hospital’s average daily census – which is determined by multiplying the number of annual admissions by the length of stay and dividing that number by 365 – has increased 19.1% through October since the start of the year 2020 and was 4.8% higher than 2019.

This is one of the reasons why the hospital is budgeting for three full-time employees in its care units.

“When we put a COVID-positive patient in the ICU, it may not be the acuity of a patient related to intensive care,” Elaine Gerson, director, told the board of directors of the operation of AVH. “They are placed in the intensive care unit to separate them from our general patient population. Every time we place a patient in the intensive care unit, it requires two human resources. One is usually a registered nurse and then depending on the acuity of the patient it may be a patient care tech (who) is the second staff member or a second nurse if the patient is seriously ill.

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