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A coordinated change

Health care center settles in at Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora

Published June 15, 2007 at midnight

"There is No Emergency Room at This Hospital."

The 3-foot-high sign, posted outside University Hospital's ER at 7 a.m. Thursday, said it all.

University Hospital, which has served Denver residents for 40 years at its crowded campus at East Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, is moving to more spacious quarters in Aurora.

By Sunday, the bulk of the move will be completed.

More than 150 patients, 400 hospital beds, tons of medical equipment and hundreds of doctors, nurses, teachers and researchers will launch a new era at the gleaming Anschutz Medical Campus.

The campus, home of the old Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, looks like a bustling high- tech business center.

Its centerpiece is the new 12- story University of Colorado Hospital, which has been partially open, treating patients with certain diseases, since 2004.

But Thursday was the main transition day, when the new hospital became the place where the sickest, most critical patients are brought.

"There were no glitches," University Hospital CEO Bruce Schroffel said of the marathon moving day.

But the old hospital "is a little eerie," he said "The pictures are down, and the patients are (nearly) gone. It's almost like an empty house."

Earlier in the week, ambulances moved about 40 patients six miles to the new hospital. Six more patients were moved Thursday.

Everything had to be carefully timed and orchestrated so medical equipment was ready the moment patients were wheeled into their new rooms. "It's not like moving your house," Schroffel said. "There's a lot of sequencing to think of."

Today, the hospital will move 36 intensive care unit patients, followed by about 40 more surgical intensive care and burn and trauma patients on Saturday. The remaining patients will be moved on Sunday, with the last one expected to leave about 7 p.m., said Tony Ruiz, vice president of operations.

Patients already are getting used to going to the new campus.

The hospital's ER on the Anschutz campus has seen a spike in admissions recently, treating as many as 140 patients a day, compared with the average 100 a day from earlier months, said Dr. Bruce Evans.

"The patients have certainly gotten the word about the move," he said.

University Hospital is the first of several major metro hospitals scheduled to leave Denver in the next few years.

Children's Hospital will pack up this fall for the Anschutz campus, and in 2010, St. Anthony Central Hospital plans to move to the Federal Center in Lakewood.

The three hospitals represent 36 percent of the city's staffed beds and about 159,000 annual emergency room visits combined.

Denver Health and its state- of-the-art trauma center and infectious disease clinics remain, as does the best-in-the-nation respiratory center at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Rose Medical Center plans to remain in the shadow of the old University Hospital building; and Presbyterian/St. Luke's and Exempla St. Joseph remain in the hospital complex being vacated by Children's.

University Hospital's Critical Care Tower on Ninth Avenue will remain open for now, offering kidney dialysis treatment on an outpatient basis. But it is expected to be incorporated into the Shea Homes development.

What's where

Newcomers are often confused by the assortment of buildings at East Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Here's an overview of what's there and what's leaving.

University of Colorado Hospital - moving to Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The only building that will remain for now is the Critical Care Tower, which will house some outpatient services.

The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center - also moving to the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Veterans Hospital, moving in 2011

Rose Medical Center, not moving

The move

The University of Colorado Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus was renamed from Fitzsimons last year in honor of $91 million in gifts from the Anschutz Foundation.

6.2 miles of road will be covered by semis and ambulances as University Hospital makes its move from east Denver to the new medical campus in Aurora.

$644 million is slated for the development of the University of Colorado Hospital at Anschutz.

$7.4 million is budgeted for the move.

2.3 million man-hours will be recorded.

Number of patients to be moved: 150

Hospital beds: 400

Medical devices: 8,129

Medical supplies: 6,000

Desks: 3,000

Computers and printers: 2,000

Steel: 5,200 tons

Square feet: 820,000

Conduit: 1.2 million feet

Cabling: 4.6 million feet

Concrete: 129.4 million pounds

Sunday: UHC operating room closes at Ninth and Colorado, and last of patients are moved to the Aurora campus.

Oct. 1: Children's Hospital opens.

January 2008: University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences medical, pharmacy, nursing and graduate students relocate to Anschutz campus.

July 2008: Completion of UCDHS second research tower

Sometime in 2008: First building of the Colorado Bioscience Park at Fitzsimons slated to open. Buildout is expected to take 20 years.

2011: Veterans Hospital scheduled to openSource: University Of Colorado Hospital What Happens Next

In your room

Standard features of patient rooms at UCH:

A wash-up station for nurses and doctors

Sofa that folds into a futon so family can spend the night

Unlimited visiting hours - family can be there at any hour

One patient only; no shared rooms

Plasma TV with a DVD - remotes controlled by patient

Wireless system rings nurse assistant - on vibrate to reduce noise. If nurse assistant doesn't answer in 15 seconds, the system calls the registered nurse. If registered nurse doesn't answer in 15 seconds, the system rings the main nurses section to alert a nurse or doctor.Source: University Of Colorado Hospital

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