Kaiser Permanente announces Frisco location for new medical offices | SummitDaily.com

Kaiser Permanente announces Frisco location for new medical offices

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com

Brent Bowman, Kaiser Permanente Colorado's executive director for the nonprofit health plan's mountain Colorado service area, surveys the future parking lot and site of the organization's first mountain medical offices. The facility will open in January at 226 Lusher Court in Frisco.

Colorado's largest nonprofit health plan intends to open its first medical offices in Summit County and the mountain region this January.

Kaiser Permanente Colorado announced its new location in Frisco on Thursday, June 11.

The offices will be in the Basecamp retail center at 226 Lusher Court, across a parking lot from Whole Foods Market and Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, next to the Summit Stage Frisco transfer center and near the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 9.

Construction has begun on the new facility, which Kaiser Permanente plans to open to its members Jan. 2, said Brent Bowman, executive director of the nonprofit's mountain Colorado service area.

Kaiser Permanente has been providing both health insurance coverage and health care services in Colorado for more than 45 years.

The nonprofit provides comprehensive health-care services to 625,000 members through 28 medical offices and a network of affiliated hospitals and more than 1,000 physicians with a mission of providing more affordable, high-quality health care.

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After recent expansions into southern and then northern Colorado, Bowman said, the organization decided to move west into Summit and Eagle counties and tackle a region recognized in recent years as having the highest insurance premiums in the country.

The organization met with Summit County residents, elected officials and local community and business leaders over the last year who shared concerns about the lack of affordability and options in the health-care market.

"We hear loud and clear that more choices is what residents want here," Bowman said.

ADDING HIGH-PAYING JOBS

The two-story, 6,000-square-foot Frisco medical offices will offer a variety of health-care services, including primary care, laboratory and medical imaging.

Medical offices in Eagle County are still in the planning stages, and Bowman said he expects an office there to open Jan. 2.

He said 15 to 20 people will work at each office in Summit and Eagle, and the staffing plan for Frisco includes two physicians, one physician's assistant, nurses, technicians and administrative staff members while specialists from the organization's Front Range facilities rotate in.

During slow times at the Frisco facility, Bowman said employees there will be able to access the organization's network and help out Front Range offices who may need extra help responding to patient calls and emails, refilling prescriptions or covering for staff members on vacation.

That way, the organization won't need to add as many positions at its Front Range offices as those areas experience population growth.

He said the nonprofit is discussing partnerships with Summit physicians and health care providers to add to its network.

LOWERING COSTS

In the spring of 2014, Kaiser Permanente announced it was exploring options to offer health care and coverage in Colorado's mountain communities for the first time.

Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said at the time that he welcomed the addition of another provider whose competition would hopefully lower costs for local residents.

Pending approval by the Colorado Division of Insurance, Kaiser Permanente will initially offer coverage plans to employers, individuals, and families as well as through Medicaid. Additional plans and options will be added in 2017 and beyond.

Bowman said Kaiser Permanente's rates will be competitive as it leverages its large size and model that combines both coverage and care to reduce administrative burdens on providers.

Summit members will be able to visit any Kaiser Permanente medical office in Colorado, and Bowman said the organization is exploring what he called domestic medical tourism — or providing plans whose benefits include transportation and accommodation for procedures and visits at Front Range offices.

Kaiser Permanente members already can connect with their physicians and health-care teams, check lab results and schedule appointments through the organization's website and mobile app. Later this year, the nonprofit will roll out video visits, through which members will be able to talk to their doctors through video from home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

GIVING BACK

As a nonprofit, Bowman said, Kaiser Pemanente reinvests its margins at the end of the year in improving its services as well as its surrounding communities through grants and financial assistance for patients who qualify.

In 2014, the organization directed $109 million to community benefit programs in Colorado.

Kaiser Permanente supports a number of mountain organizations, including the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Valley Foundation, The Summit Foundation, Education Foundation of Eagle County and Summit Community Care Clinic.

"When we go into a community we really do get involved in the community," said Amy Whited, the nonprofit's public relations and digital media manager.

Kaiser Permanente has sponsored and participated in a variety of local events, including the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge and the Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek.

This weekend, the nonprofit will participate in the Colorado BBQ Challenge in Frisco.