Cripple Creek Medical Plaza, next to the Venture Food Stores on Teller One, has ceased offering medical services.
Instead, the Penrose Urgent Care at Cripple Creek, operated by Centura Health – Penrose-St. Francis Health, has merged locations with their school-based health center, located adjacent to Cresson Elementary School at 412 North C Street, according to a city press release.
Citing greater efficiencies, Centura Health has announced plans, to operate solely out of the school-based location, as of January 3. Medical care services, which were previously offered by Penrose-St. Francis at the Cripple Creek Medical Plaza, are being provided at the school-based location by Linda Hewett, NP. All existing patients of Centura Health as well as any new patients and walk-ins are welcome at the school-based center.
Gail Decker, vice-president of market partnerships and network development for Centura Health stated, “We will be accepting walk-in patients regardless of whether they are established with the clinic or not. The term “Urgent Care” won’t be used but we will use the term “Walk-Ins are Welcome”. The added benefit is that the patient’s co-pay will be reduced to that of an office visit and not the higher urgent care co-pay,” she explained.
The hours for the school-based health center are: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In case of emergency, please dial 911 or visit the Urgent Care facility in Woodland Park, located at the old Langstaff-Brown facility.
According to the city’s press release, Cripple Creek officials still aren’t abandoning plans for the medical plaza, a project started by a previous administration nearly 10 years ago. The city is working to bring a physician back to the Cripple Creek Medical Plaza, a pursuit it has toiled with since 2007. For a number of years, the Plaza operated with the services of Dr. Kurt Wever, until he resigned to take a position in Woodland Park. In addition, EDGE Rehab & Wellness, Inc. and Gold Rush Dental are continuing to offer their services at the Medical Plaza as well.
Future of Medical Plaza in Question
The latest development shouldn’t detract from current medical services, but could raise more questions regarding the future of the Cripple Creek Medical Plaza. Since the city tried to develop this facility, it has struggled with finances at this site, while trying to meet the needs of the community. The Plaza opened for business in 2008, but the facility often emerged as a financial albatross for the city. In 2010, the facility accumulated a massive amount of debt from unpaid bills, and the city’s general fund had to bail out the operation. “It was a total mess,” said former City Administrator Ray White, according to a previous article in The Mountain Jackpot.
The fate of the Plaza improved when a partnership was reached between the city and Penrose-St. Francis in 2011. Under this arrangement, the facility didn’t have a full-time physician, but was staffed by a nurse practitioner, an x-ray specialist, an additional nurse and other staff members for five days a week, Monday through Friday. It also offered more services. As its part of the deal, the city initially contributed about $150,000 to Penrose to help subsidize the operation.
The school-based health center actually opened in Cripple Creek in 2009 and in 2012 moved into a new building that was attached to the Cresson Elementary School, 412 North C Street. It originally served as a kids-only facility, but its mission slightly increased over the years.
Peak Vista Community Health Centers, a Colorado Springs-based network of medical, dental and behavioral health-care services in Colorado and Kansas, was the main provider there. But Peak Vista pulled out of its contract with the Cripple Creek/Victor RE-1 School District in December 2015, following the departure of an advanced-practice nurse practitioner, who had been working at the school-based healthy center for less than a year. After the center was closed for close to six months, Penrose-St. Francis took it over last July, with the help of several key supporting grants.
Penrose-St. Francis, which has strong ties to the community, also continued to run the urgent and primary care center at the Medical Plaza.