PVHS CEO to meet with Memorial task force

Memorial is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Poudre Valley Health Systems and become a nonprofit – but it isn’t yet ready to say whether that would include a merger with another nonprofit.

Poudre Valley’s CEO, Rulon Stacey, will speak tomorrow at 8 a.m. at City Hall to the Memorial Task Force. Stacey has gained national attention for his success in leading PVHS through the move from a municipal hospital to an independent hospital system. Recently, the hospital announced a partnership with the University of Colorado Hospital, where the two share expenses and revenue, but maintain independence.

That move isn’t being discussed by Memorial’s administration, said spokesman Brian Newsome.

“It might be something we’d consider in the future, but first, we’d need to become an independent nonprofit,” he said. “Our current structure doesn’t even allow us to take part in discussions like that. We can’t even have a seat at the table right now.”

Stacey spoke to the Memorial Citizens’ Commission last September, walking them through the process of switching from a city-owned system to a nonprofit. Located in Fort Collins, Poudre Valley made the move from a public hospital to an independent nonprofit in 1994. At the time, the hospital had $100 million in revenue and 1,600 employees. Today, it employs 4,500 people with revenue of $1.2 billion.

Poudre Valley recorded 21,000 “patient days” in 2009, a big increase from the 13,000 in 1998. A patient day is the number of days a patient is in the hospital.

Expanding its service area was key to that growth.

“We drew patients from outside the immediate area to come to us,” Stacey told the commission. “We have a relationship with a hospital in Scottsbluff, Neb., that used to send patients to Denver, but now they come to us.”

Fort Collins is a smaller city than Colorado Springs, but Poudre’s $1.2 billion in revenue far outstrips Memorial’s $542 million. And while Poudre has been growing, Memorial has not.

“You will not be as effective if you stay ‘as is,’” Stacey said. “In the era of health care reform, you have to be in a position where you can do something because it is the right thing to do — the system can’t be subject to an election.”