Wellness the goal of Centura, YMCA with collaboration

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Construction is moving forward on the new site for the health care facility adjacent to the Tri-Lakes Y in Monument.

Construction is moving forward on the new site for the health care facility adjacent to the Tri-Lakes Y in Monument.

The second curve is the future — and the future is now.

Centura Health’s first Colorado Health Neighborhood in El Paso County is slated to open this fall on Jackson Creek Parkway in Monument and, according to Penrose-St. Francis Health Services senior vice president Jamie Smith, it is a model that could pave the way for tomorrow’s health care consumers.

“The first curve is a term we use to describe what is now known about health care,” Smith said. “Basically, the more you do the more you get paid. That’s based on the numbers of imaging studies [a physician does] or how many patients come through the doors. The physicians then charge a fee for their service. The second curve is a paradigm shift to value. It means doing the right thing at the right time for the patient and it’s doing it as cost-effectively as possible. It’s getting the most care we can out of the system.”

Colorado Health Neighborhoods is a collaborative effort with Centura Health and what is now 2,400 providers across the state, according to CHN Executive Director John Suits.

“We’re taking a geographic approach to managing health,” Suits said. “And fee for value is definitely where we’re headed. The majority of second curve care will not be provided in an acute care setting but in an ambulatory setting.”

Smith said it is more cost-effective now to visit an urgent care facility than an emergency room, but driving patients to the more economical option has been a “laissez faire approach” and not well-managed.

He explained that, through collaboration with the Tri-Lakes YMCA, which will be connected to the Monument CHN, helping health care consumers make smart decisions will bring the industry a step closer to “value instead of volume.”

“We’re very proud of our creative collaboration with the Tri-Lakes YMCA and its joining this ambulatory site,” Smith said.

The Boldt Company, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., will be the developer and owner of the outpatient center and the shared lobby. The Boldt Company also initially brought together Penrose-St. Francis and the YMCA to discuss the collaboration.

Boldt will own the building, and Penrose will occupy approximately 20,000 square feet of the 50,000-square-foot campus, including a 10,000-square-foot urgent care facility, a large primary care facility for adults and services through Penrose partner PENRAD Imaging, which will offer X-ray, mammography, ultrasound and CT scans.

Why Monument?

According to Smith, the Tri-Lakes YMCA is in a “vibrant location that is highly utilized.”

He said Centura had been considering ambulatory services in northern El Paso County for some time.

“It’s one of the furthest communities from our service locations today,” he said. “We wanted to have an identity in Monument connected with our services offered across the community. The outpatient services in the Tri-Lakes area will connect to a larger set of services that Penrose offers in community.”

Boyd Williams, president and CEO of the YMCA in the Pikes Peak Region, said he is excited about the opportunity to partner with a health care provider like Centura in taking new approaches to health care.

“This really gives us the chance to take a look at the health and wellness in our community and the Tri-Lakes community in a much different way,” Williams said. “It allows us to approach wellness from a holistic approach, which the Y does anyway; spirit, mind and body, but with a health care side.”

Boyd said YMCAs across the country have partnered with health care providers, and he wants the local collaboration to learn from others’ successes and shortcomings.

Boyd said they used a similar partnership in Milwaukee as a model.

“We learned from the president of the Milwaukee Y that they just didn’t get the programming right and they were still trying to identify with the health care provider what that could look like,” he said. “It was a very sterile approach to integrated care with the YMCA. We’re learning from that.”

Room to grow

All major players involved with the Tri-Lakes project said there is room to expand the neighborhood concept throughout Colorado Springs and surrounding communities.

“We think this could be replicable across the region,” Boyd said. “The medical partners understand where health care is going and we think the Y is positioned better than anyone in this community, with eight locations in the region. No matter where you live, you are 10 minutes from any YMCA. As we forge ahead in caring for this community, we have to do it in a partnering way.”

Williams said the YMCA’s vast scope already has been recognized as having the potential to change behaviors relating to wellness in a positive way.

“When you look at youth obesity and the epidemic across our country, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta identified the YMCA as the only organization that’s mobilized across the country to effect change,” he said. “We think we can strengthen our ability to serve the community around health care and health and wellness by partnering with health care organizations.”

Smith said there are already discussions on opening more ambulatory health centers in Colorado Springs submarkets. He identified the Briargate area, Broadmoor and southwest Colorado Springs, Fountain and a campus to the northeast of the city.

“We’re looking at all areas that have a dense enough population and need to have outpatient services closer to home.”

Smith addressed how multiple locations would mean localizing care for specific demographics.

“For example, and this is outside our direct region, but Pueblo has a higher rate of diabetes than much of the rest of the state,” Smith said. “It’s a big health concern for that community. We can tailor what’s offered in neighborhoods for that need.

“Monument is a younger, more active community,” he added. “The needs there might be more along the lines of sports medicine and rehab while primary care close to home is a huge win.”

Suits said no matter the location or specialized care, the end goal is the same.

“The purpose is working toward shifting focus on how we deliver care from reactive care to taking more of a proactive approach,” he said. “We want to encourage patients to get engaged with health and health care. We want them to focus on wellness and healthy behaviors and prevention.”

Funding, of course, will play a part in where and when additional CHN campuses are built. Suits said developer-owned campuses, like the Boldt Company-owned building in Monument, are typical for health care systems.

“With capital restraints, you don’t want to spend precious capital on bricks and mortar,” Smith said. “You want to spend capital on equipment and people.”