PPRH Joins Forces With Memorial Hospital

Major UCHealth acquisition deal expected to close in April

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

Pikes Peak Regional Hospital (PPRH), the area’s prime health care hub for the last decade, has been acquired by UCHealth in a deal that has been expected for months.

As a result, local patients will have more access to Memorial Hospital and other outlets provided by UCHealth.  UCHealth currently leases and operates Memorial Hospital Central and North in Colorado Springs. It also owns and operates a wide variety of health facilities throughout Colorado.

With more than 100 clinic locations, UCHealth “pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation,” according to a company press release.

The final pact is expected to be completed in early April. That’s when employees of PPRH will become part of the UCHealth network.

For months, rumors have abounded regarding growing ties between UCHealth/Memorial and PPRH. The latest transaction is part of a major medical consolidation trend that has occurred in the Pikes Peak region.

Representatives of PPRH and UCHealth are describing the deal as win-win for local residents and the entire area. 

“Pikes Peak Regional Hospital provides essential services, close to home, for patients in Teller and Park counties. We are excited to join UCHealth because, as part of this larger health care network, we will be able to provide our patients with a greater depth of services while focusing on our purpose – improving health throughout the Pikes Peak region,” said Kim Monjesky, PPRH chief executive officer.

 “We are honored and excited to have Pikes Peak Regional Hospital join the UCHealth family,” said Elizabeth Concordia, president and CEO of UCHealth. “PPRH provides excellent care for patients and the community, focusing on exceptional patient experience. These are the same as UCHealth’s values, which is why we’re confident we will have a bright future together.”

UCHealth Medical Group has worked with Pikes Peak Regional for several years to provide specialists and services at the Woodland Park facility, such as cardiology, neurosurgery, oncology and telestroke services, according to UCHealth representatives.

“Our top priority is providing the very best care, close to home, for patients throughout the Pikes Peak region,” said UCHealth Memorial President and CEO Joel Yuhas. “By working together, Memorial and Pikes Peak Regional Hospital will be able to enhance the services currently available in Woodland Park, while improving the experience of patients who need advanced care or specialists in other UCHealth locations.”

 PPRH currently employs about 120 people and has 15 beds.  The hospital has undergone a number of changes in the last few years, and that trend may continue.  According to UCHealth spokesman Dan Weaver, details regarding the organizational structure of PPRH will get finalized prior to April. 

PPRH is currently owned by Boston-based Steward Health Care System LLC, which merged with the hospital’s previous owner in September. The purchase agreement between UCHealth and Steward was signed late Thursday after several months of talks, according to Weaver.

According to a report in The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, Steward was started in 2010 and is owned by private equity giant Cerberus Capital Management, which also owns the Albertsons and Safeway supermarket chains. Steward, the nation’s largest privately held hospital company, operates 36 hospitals with more than 5,000 beds and 37,000 employees in 10 states. The company more than doubled in size last year by merger with Franklin, Tenn.-based IASIS Healthcare LLC, which owned Pikes Peak Regional and 17 other hospitals, and buying eight other hospitals from Community Health Systems Inc., also based in Franklin, Tenn.

PPRH has emerged as one of the biggest economic players in Teller County.  When the hospital opened for business in 2006, many skeptics and project critics were shocked. PPRH became a prime example of a partnership between Uncle Sam and the local community and private donators.  The hospital proponents snagged a major federal grant and loan that opened the door for construction of Teller’s first-ever full-service hospital, following a 10-plus year project campaign orchestrated by a board of directors.  It is regarded as a critical access hospital. But like many hospital facilities in rural areas, it sometimes struggled to keep quality doctors, who often prefer more urban environments, according to sources. At the same time, PPRH boasted of a slew of top awards for its quality service. The hospital’s convenience also has become a big selling point for area residents. 

PPRH is expected to remain one of the top employers in Woodland Park.   

As a nonprofit health system, UCHealth is also dedicated to the communities it serves. In fiscal year 2017, UCHealth provided $647 million in total community benefits including $259 million in uncompensated care, according to a company press release.