Vail Valley Medical Center begins expansion this summer |

Vail Valley Medical Center begins expansion this summer

After 50 years of providing health care, Vail Valley Medical Center will start an expansion and remodeling of its west wing.

A new fourth floor will add 24,000 square feet for the Steadman Philippon Research Institute and The Steadman Clinic. In addition, interior spaces throughout the west wing will be reorganized to provide increased space for patient care.

The west wing construction should be completed in late 2017.

During this period of construction, all VVMC services and specialties will remain open, including the 24-hour emergency department, childbirth center, full surgical capabilities, imaging, physical therapy and the new Cardiac Catheterization & Electrophysiology Lab.

The hospital’s partners also will remain fully functional, including Colorado Mountain Medical, The Steadman Clinic, Steadman Philippon Research Institute and Vail-Summit Orthopaedics.

Then in 2017, the hospital is scheduled to begin construction on its east wing, which will be demolished and replaced with 80,000 square feet of medical facilities, a multi-level parking structure below and a helipad building.

The hospital will move its main entrance to South Frontage Road to eliminate patient, visitor, emergency and employee traffic from West Meadow Drive and improve the pedestrian experience.

The whole project build-out will feature a new emergency department, an upgraded patient care unit and intensive care unit, a relocated helipad with direct access to the hospital, appropriate medical space for physician groups, increased parking capacity, a new main entrance, a new concealed loading zone for delivery vehicles and an enhanced overall appearance to complement the architectural renaissance in the villages and neighborhood.

In an announcement, VVMC’s president and CEO Doris Kirchner said the new medical campus will not increase the cost of care to patients.

Behind Vail Resorts, the nonprofit is Eagle County’s second largest employer with about 850 employees.

For more information about the expansion and renovation, visit

Frisco radiologist given prestigious recognition

A radiologist who practices in Frisco was recently inducted as a fellow in the American College of Radiology.

Dr. Patrick Joseph O’Malley was inducted at a formal convocation ceremony during the college’s 2015 meeting in May in Washington, D.C.

The fellow recognition is one of the highest honors the ACR can bestow on a radiologist, radiation oncologist or medical physicist who demonstrates a history of service to the college, organized radiology, teaching or research. About 10 percent of ACR members achieve the distinction.

O’Malley practices at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood and St. Anthony North Hospital in Westminster.

O’Malley is a member of the college as well as the Colorado Radiological Society, and he received his medical degree from the University of California Irvine.

The ACR is a national nonprofit association serving more than 34,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of radiology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

State health department finds 13.6 percent of adults use marijuana

New data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show 13.6 percent of Colorado adults (18 and older) surveyed in 2014 reported current use of marijuana.

Current use is defined as having used in the past 30 days.

The department collected marijuana use data for the first time in its 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) following the legalization of retail marijuana, so comparisons to past BRFSS data are not possible.

A national survey from 2013 produced similar results when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 12.9 percent of Coloradans reported current use of marijuana.

The national survey also found that 7.4 percent of U.S. adults used marijuana in the past month, and among states with legal retail marijuana, past-month use ranged from 12.1 percent to Colorado’s 12.9 percent.

“This is the beginning of data collection about marijuana use by Coloradans. Tracking this data over time will help us identify trends that will be useful in planning public health awareness campaigns about marijuana use,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the department’s executive director and chief medical officer.

Other findings from the 2014 Colorado survey:

Younger adults (18 to 24) are more than 10 times more likely to use marijuana than older adults (65 and older).

One-third of current users reported using marijuana daily.

18.8 percent of current marijuana users reported driving after using.

The highest percentage of current marijuana use among adults was reported in the Denver metropolitan area and resort areas of the state.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual adults are much more likely to currently use marijuana.

The percentage of adults who have ever used marijuana is much lower among Hispanics, compared with white or black adults.

Adults with higher incomes are more likely to have never used marijuana, while current use is higher among adults with lower household incomes.

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