Partners Helping Partners
By Kerrie Hill, EPMC
As Estes Park and the surrounding areas began to clean up and return to some form of normalcy, Estes Park Medical Center continued caring for our patients, providing information as needed, and working with our Specialty Clinic physicians on a plan to get them back up to Estes Park to see patients. EPMC’s active staff physicians were concerned that patients would not be able to have their on-going appointments for follow up with the many different specialists who are located in the Front Range area.
After the flood, there was only one road leading into Estes Park. This meant a 3 ½ hour or longer drive to Estes Park; almost a half a day’s travel for some of the physicians. Estes Park Medical Center’s full-time cardiologist, Chad Stoltz, made the drive for three weeks, staying overnight and seeing patients the next day. There were other times when he drove up, saw patients, and drove back to Fort Collins to go on call at Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. One by one each of the specialist’s offices were contacted to propose a plan for coverage. Other physicians such as Matt Sorensen, MD, and Lewis Strong, MD have made the trip to Estes Park by car. “It was the right thing to do for our patients in light of what has transpired over the last three weeks,” said Matt Sorensen,MD, Oncologist at the Specialty Clinic. “I was happy we were able to provide care for the patients I see in Estes Park.”
Many of the Specialty Clinic physicians are employed by University of Colorado Health (formerly Poudre Valley Health System). Estes Park Medical Center contacted University of Colorado Health and explained our dilemma. Their answer? We can help! What transpired after a week of planning was for University of Colorado Health to lease a helicopter and fly their physicians up to Estes Park to see patients on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Some physicians are flying in for the day and some are staying overnight and flying out after clinic the next day.
“The Specialty Clinic physicians are an integral part of the care of our patients,” said Frank Dumont, MD Chief of Staff at Estes Park Medical Center. “We have a very large geriatric population who are retired and reside in Estes Park and the outlying areas. Many of these patients have many complex medical issues and we, as physicians, need the assistance of the specialists to provide continuity of care. We would not have the capability of cardiac testing, GI procedures, or the ability to refer our patients if we did not have the Specialty Clinic physicians as part of our facility. We are grateful to all of them for their commitment to the care of our patients.”
“After the massive flooding that occurred in September and the tremendous damage to key highways, University of Colorado Health began discussing the logistics of how we could help Estes Park Medical Center and the Estes Park community,” said Grace Taylor, Senior Director – Physician Relations and Community Outreach. “Providing helicopter transportation from Loveland and Fort Collins to Estes Park clearly served the important need of connecting physicians with patients in the community. Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies and Colorado Health Medical Group, now part of University of Colorado Health (UCHealth), have had a longstanding and collaborative relationship with Estes Park Medical Center. We are honored to be able to provide this important service to the community.”
Estes Park Medical Center is grateful to University of Colorado Health for implementing the helicopter transport for their physicians and staff and to the other specialists who made the commitment to providing much needed care to the residents of Estes Park. With partnerships like these, Estes Park Medical Center is MOUNTAIN STRONG!