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FAQ: Memorial Health System joins University of Colorado Health

Frequently asked questions about Memorial Health System lease to University of Colorado Health

On Aug. 28, citizens of Colorado Springs voted to lease Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health, the first change in governance for the city-owned health system since it was purchased in 1943.

This decision means that Memorial, which historically has been a stand-alone community hospital, will now be part of a larger system that includes the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora and Poudre Valley Health System in northern Colorado.

Q: What will this change mean for patients?

A: Patients will see very few changes initially. Over time, however, they will find that they not only have the same great care as today, but even more choices. Memorial will have the additional support and resources of a larger family. Memorial’s nurses and physicians will be able to exchange the best ideas and latest advances as they deliver your care.

Q: Why did Memorial change hands?

A: Memorial has been a successful, highly regarded health system for more than a century, but the health care industry looks very different than it did even just a few years ago. Changes in the broader American health care system and a national movement toward integrated care mean fewer and fewer hospitals are able to stand alone. Public hospitals like Memorial have faced even greater challenges. Experts from across the country warned that Memorial might not survive the future without the support of a larger family.

Two other, extraordinarily successful Colorado-based health systems were facing the same kind of challenges of this new health care era. UC Health formed as a way to meet those challenges of tomorrow, and long hoped to add Memorial, which shared its values and purposes.

Q: Will Memorial be an academic medical center?

A: No, Memorial’s focus on the community will remain. However, as part of a system that includes an academic medical center, Memorial’s patients will benefit from additional choices, resources and expertise. One of the unique benefits of this system is the ability to leverage the strengths of community-based care and academia in a mutually beneficial way.

Additionally, as part of this agreement, UC Health will be funding a branch medical school at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Although it will be a few years before the school is up and running, this will be a benefit for our patients.

Q: Will Memorial continue to serve the military, the underinsured and uninsured, and others who have difficulty getting the care they need?

A: Yes. The hospitals of UC Health have long served generations of military families, and share a commitment to both the military as well as charitable care. Continuing to do so is a legally binding requirement in UC Health’s lease with the city.

Q: Will this change in governance result in fewer jobs?

A: No. In fact, UC Health’s history has been to add jobs.  Cumulatively, University of Colorado Hospital and Poudre Valley Health have increased their headcount by 5.2 percent, to a total of 10,549, from June 2011 through mid-July 2012. They expect to bring the same kind of dynamism and added job opportunities to Colorado Springs.

If you have additional questions, please call 719.365.2222 or 1.855.395.9031.

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