As a fourth generation Leadville native, I have had a long history with St. Vincent Hospital. First of all, it is my birthplace. Secondly, many of my family members have been cared for there, and even spent their last moments in its comforting embrace. Our family has always felt grateful to have St. Vincent to rely on, and reassured to have good healthcare nearby. We have seen the hospital go through many transitions and changes, some more challenging than others.

I feel very blessed to be a part of our most recent change, building a new facility and expanding our campus. Part of the new vision is changing our brand to “St. Vincent Health,” since we are committed to not only in-patient services and emergency care, but also preventative healthcare and primary care.

When our new facility opens, we are going to be able to offer three different types of treatment based on each individual’s needs. Do they need emergent care? (Is their condition life or limb-threatening?) Or do they need urgent care? (Something that needs treatment today, but is not necessarily an emergency and can be taken care of less expensively.) These two services will be provided at the new hospital building, and a patient will be able to walk in and be assessed to see which service is better for them. The doctors staffing emergent and urgent care will be the top-quality doctors from CarePoint Health that we have been fortunate to work with since last year.

The third option is primary care. These services will be offered at our new clinic, St. Vincent Family Health Center, and include general health needs like annual exams and labs, medicine prescriptions, and diagnosis and management for illnesses. Some urgent care services will also be available in this clinic. We are also expanding our telehealth services to include specialists from many different fields, making it easier for our community to get specialized care. Patients who come to any one of our entrances at either facility will be guided to the type of care that best fits their needs.

We are very proud and blessed to be merging with the former Rocky Mountain Family Practice. Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger poured her heart and soul into this clinic for more than 20 years. As she is nearing retirement, she wanted to give her legacy back to the community of Lake County. Therefore, she has made us a very generous offer and made it possible for us to lease-to-buy this clinic along with the equipment and facility. Part of the agreement is to hire the existing staff, bringing them into the St. Vincent Health family. We have also extended this to include Dr. Lisa herself, seeing her as a continued asset to this community. As we add more primary care physicians, mid-level providers and specialist physicians to our staff, we look forward to expanding our ability to provide many more options for our Lake County residents.

Aleta Bezzic

St. Vincent Health Board of Directors

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