Hospital celebrates six years: Services have expanded since opening

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When Pikes Peak Regional Hospital and Surgery Center opened six years ago, the ceremonial welcome was just the beginning.

A 15-bed hospital with an emergency department, PPRH provided essential services, enough to build on and gradually increase its viability as a place of critical importance for the area.

But the hospital just keeps adding services that:

• Filled an insurance gap by signing an agreement with Kaiser Permanente, whose clients include employees of the RE-2 School District, Charis Bible College and Walmart, which has two Kaiser health-insurance plans. “I think that’s what helped make a difference,” said Rodney Bice, chief nursing officer. “The hospital has been working on this for six years.”

Kaiser is an addition; otherwise, the hospital accepts nearly all insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. For potential patients who aren’t sure if Kaiser is on board yet, Bice advises calling the hospital. “We accept all Kaiser insurance plans,” Bice said.

• Retained designation as a Level IV Trauma Care Center. “It’s great for us and a tribute to our team,” said Eric Riggle, the hospital’s marketing director. “For the public, it means the team can provide care for patients coming through the emergency department who need that level of service.”

• Expanded hours at the hospital’s medical care clinic at 720 W. U.S. 24. The staff includes physicians Kurt Wever, Alex Autry and Heather Autry as well as Lisa Diamond, RN, MSN. “The providers will have their patients utilize our services, which is keeping everyone in the community,” Riggle said. “And that benefits the community.” The clinic has added 350 new patients in the past year.

• Purchased a DEXA machine that tests levels of bone density. “The machine is the key to women’s health,” Bice said. “It’s a one-stop shop; now you can do everything right here.”

The machine is an added convenience for women who take advantage of the hospital’s mammogram services.

• Launched a sleep-study center to test pulmonary-function testing. “It’s so important for people who live at this altitude to have their tests and treatment done here,” Bice said. “When they go down the hill, down 2,500 feet, they don’t require the same amount of oxygen.”

Motivated to improve the health of people in the area, the hospital, whose chief executive officer is Terry Buckner, emphasizes the importance of testing.

To highlight the health-care message, the hospital will hosts a health fair on Oct.12 as part of the six-year celebration. “We’ll have 35 different areas of healthcare services that day,” Riggle said. “We listen every day about affordable care but that’s what it’s all about, get your testing done,” Riggle said. “Not only will you be healthier as a community but cost goes down drastically if you address something before it goes bad.”

The Community Health Fair will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 12 at the hospital.