This is a pivotal moment for our community as the COVID virus cases increase here, across the country, and in much of the world. We desperately need to control the spread so we can remain open for the winter season, keep our kids in school, and maintain a reasonably strong local economy for all who depend on it. Amazingly, the solution is very simple – adhere to the Five Commitments to Containment. By maintaining our physical distances, wearing face coverings, washing our hands, staying home when we are sick, and getting tested, the evidence is clear we can contain the virus. Of course, doing so will require the continued hard work of our Pitkin County Public Health team.
For our part, Aspen Valley Hospital will continue to support the public health testing goals as a part of the “box it in” strategy of testing and contact tracing. We are currently testing hundreds of people every week, carefully utilizing our various testing options to protect our (unfortunately) still limited supplies. But the demands on community testing will be increasing significantly this winter, and we also need to remove any remaining barriers to people receiving tests, such as the requirement of a physician order. To accomplish this, we are joining and supporting the efforts of Pitkin County Public Health, the Aspen School District, local municipalities, and our large employer organizations to establish a more robust testing capability with the additional support of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. By leveraging new technologies and powerful third-party logistical support, our strong partnership efforts will yield substantially increased testing availability through the end of the year and in 2021.
While the COVID virus dominates healthcare news, the fact is we haven’t escaped the grip of various other maladies that can befall us at any time, many of which are chronic conditions that can be managed or avoided with the right lifestyle choices, early detection and preventive measures. As a case in point, learn more about our Diabetes Education Program in this issue. In order for our local healthcare to be effective in maintaining a healthy and active community, it must also be accessible and affordable. Working with the Valley Health Alliance, and our local chamber and large employer partners, we are excited to announce the introduction of new, lower cost small group and individual health plans in 2021. These plans are offered through our affiliation with United Healthcare and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.
If our hospital services are ultimately required, you can be assured that we are ready, safe, and that we are a COVID-Clean environment. Our staff continues to obsess over keeping our staff and our patients safe through limited access, comprehensive screening, and the most proven cleaning protocols. We have achieved our 5-star patient experience rating and our impressive patient safety results by keeping our attention on what matters most – every patient, every day.
So, we will consider it a pact. If you will do your part to keep yourself and our community safe by adhering to the Five Commitments, we will do our part to support your healthcare needs, and we will be here when you need us most.
CEO, Aspen Valley Hospital