Centura Health campus in suburban Denver focuses on wellness

March 15, 2015

With a decorative birch grove in the lobby atrium, a demonstration kitchen and three gardens including plots to grow produce, Centura Health opened a $177 million health campus in the Denver suburb of Westminster, Colo., on March 3. The health center brings together inpatient and outpatient care, increases focus on overall health and wellness and aims to create an environment that's more welcoming than many traditional hospitals.

The atrium of the 350,000-square-foot St. Anthony North Health Campus in Westminster, Colo. Consumers told planners they wanted a hospital that didn't resemble a traditional hospital.

The St. Anthony North Health Campus is a 350,000-square-foot building that brings together a 92-bed Catholic hospital and a neighborhood health center that includes more than 50 primary and specialty care practices. The health campus also includes outpatient surgery, a pharmacy, and diagnostic and preventive care, explained St. Anthony North's President and Chief Executive Carole Peet. A 12-bed birthing center will have doulas available for expectant mothers who'd like their help, and it will allow family members to stay overnight in patients' private rooms.

The health campus is in the fastest growing part of Westminster, a city of about 100,000 residents located about 10 miles northwest of Denver. The 5-mile primary service area around the hospital has residents with a median age of about 40, and the area is attracting a number of families, Peet said. Community input in 2012 indicated consumers wanted a hospital that "didn't look like a hospital," according to a news release, and they wanted a greater emphasis on wellness and prevention. Classes at the new health campus will explore topics including setting health goals, preventing diabetes, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight and reducing stress.

The new health campus has drop-in child care, so parents or guardians can attend a doctor's appointment or visit an intensive care unit patient without bringing along kids. A walking path on the 50-acre campus encourages outdoor exercise. Gardens provide a place for prayer and reflection. Interested community members can have a garden plot. A community board will be created to provide input on how residents would like the community garden to work.

Prior to the health campus opening, Centura Health had a 92-bed acute care St. Anthony North Hospital about 10 miles away in Westminster in an area where residents tend to be low-income, older than the population near the new health center and have some of the poorest health outcomes in the state, Peet said. An important part of the restructuring in the region was working to meet the health needs of those residents. "We were very committed to using our community health needs (assessment) as a foundation for saying how can we continue to serve this population and improve the health of the community," she said.

That hospital site is being converted into a 50,000-square-foot facility, the 84th Avenue Neighborhood Health Center. It will meet the top two needs of nearby residents: access to primary care, with offices for 19 primary care providers, and access to behavioral health services. A 16-bed, 24-hour-a-day emergency department will remain at the former hospital site. Acutely ill patients in need of inpatient care will be stabilized there before being transferred to the new St. Anthony North hospital. And a new mental health crisis unit, with 15 beds to stabilize behavioral health patients, will open at the former hospital location in partnership with Community Reach Center, a mental health provider in the northern metro Denver area.

Peet said since Colorado expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the catchment area served by the 84th Avenue Neighborhood Health Center has seen the rate of uninsured fall from about 20 percent to about 10 percent of the population. Residents who remain uninsured include undocumented immigrants in the region.

Centura Health, an Englewood, Colo.-based system, which operates in Colorado and western Kansas, has been working to develop Colorado health neighborhoods, clinically integrated networks where health teams work together to provide primary care, specialty services, urgent care, diagnostic services and occupational health. Centura Health says through its health neighborhoods approach it is migrating from care delivered within hospital settings to increased focus on helping populations achieve health and wellness. The system is working to cluster services for patients into convenient health neighborhood locations.

In October 2014, Centura Health opened three neighborhood health centers north of Denver: Church Ranch Neighborhood Health Center in Westminster, the Dacono Neighborhood Health Center and the Thornton Neighborhood Health Center.

Centura Health, a faith-based nonprofit, is run through a joint operating agreement between Englewood-based Catholic Health Initiatives and Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Adventist Health System.

Watch a video about a related community art project.

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.