Children's Hospital Colorado to open new hospital in Colorado Springs

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Children's Hospital Colorado announced plans Tuesday for a new medical center in north Colorado Springs.

The 170,000-square-foot hospital will include an emergency department, up to 100 inpatient pediatric beds, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit and operating rooms, Children's said.

Expected to open in 2018, the facility will employ 500, including nearly 40 physician/provider specialists who live and work in the community. Hospital officals hope it will serve sick children in a broad geographic area from southern Colorado to northern New Mexico and northwest Texas.

The hospital will be built on the north campus of Memorial Hospital but will be operated independently. It will likely share resources with Memorial, officials said. Children's aims to break ground this winter.

The Colorado Springs hospital has been in planning stages for four years, said Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children's Colorado.

"We're so excited to finally see this vision come true," she said. Most importantly, she said, the new hospital "will be designed exclusively for children."

Children's had been managing 113 pediatric beds at Memorial's downtown campus, but "trying to do that within an embedded hospital" was not ideal, Hausmann said. "We're essentially relocating them out of this adult hospital."

What happens to those beds is up to Memorial, but with a 2018 opening date, "we have some time," she said.

Children's has a partnership with Memorial and its parent, University of Colorado Health, but their relationship became part of a state inquiry earlier this year.

Children's in June relinquished its license to operate its own unit within Memorial's facility after the investigation into a child's death in Colorado Springs. It found "a delay of treatment for a pediatric patient who required pediatric neurosurgery services," ideally at Children's main hospital in Aurora.

Investigators did not conclude that a delayed transfer to Aurora factored into the child's death. Hausmann said its decision to open a new hospital is unrelated to the investigation.

Memorial surrendered a trauma waiver that had allowed Children's to treat certain types of severe trauma injuries at the emergency department. Children's continued operating the pediatric unit at Memorial under a management-services agreement with UCHealth.

The new facility will expand pediatric emergency services in Colorado Springs.

But even after it opens, "there will always be children who need to come to Denver," she said, where a wide array of pediatric specialists are located.

George Hayes, president and CEO of Memorial, praised the plan in a statement. "We're excited to strengthen our partnership with Children's Colorado and to ensure that pediatric patients in Colorado Springs receive the very best care, close to home," he said.