In his 2014 book Being Mortal, surgeon, respected author and healthcare transformation champion Dr. Atul Guwande observes about our industry that:
“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable wellbeing. And wellbeing is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.”
These sage words were written by Dr. Guwande over seven years ago, but they have never been more relevant than they are today. They also capture the essence of how our Aspen Valley Hospital Board of Directors and physicians look upon our role as a transformative organization seeking to provide greater healthcare value. Of course, we will always be there for those who are sick and injured, or to deliver healthy babies, but we aim much higher than that – to be a trusted resource for enhancing the quality of life in the upper Roaring Fork Valley.
Much of our focus and community discourse during the past 18-20 months has understandably and necessarily been related to COVID-19, maintaining hospital capacity, and protecting the community. Our community transmission level remains high, according to the CDC criteria, with our indoor mask mandate remaining in effect per Pitkin County Public Health order. Our collective wellbeing remains tied to our community’s ability to reduce transmission through vaccinations and masking indoors, and to keep our schools open and our tourist economy strong through the winter. Pfizer vaccines for kids ages 5-11 are coming on-line with FDA and CDC approvals, and community members are receiving their immunity enhancing booster shots. These are all essential elements of a healthy and safe community.
This month’s newsletter contains numerous other examples of the important role that AVH and our system of care plays in enhancing wellbeing. With November being National Diabetes Month, we feature the work of our Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Laurie Osier, RDN, and our Aspen Valley Primary Care team in effectively managing diabetes to reduce healthcare costs and risks. Our dietitians offer “nutrient rich” advice, recipes and cooking demonstrations that can help you dispel nutrition myths and empower you to make more healthful choices. Their monthly Dietitian Demos series now includes an archive of 25 episodes with something for everyone. Our dietitians also offer some delicious recipe ideas for all of us who enjoy a hot soup to take off the fall chill. We are also excited to tell you about our successful health fair over the past few weeks, during which we provided low cost lab screens to over 1,160 people.
AVH’s network of care is there when and where you need us, including online through our website. We hope you will take the time to review our full array of services and resources that are available to you at the AVH campus in Aspen, in Snowmass, Basalt and Willits – from compassionate and personalized hospital care to world-class orthopaedics through our partnership with The Steadman Clinic, to advanced diagnostics, holistic primary care, and a wide breadth of specialists including cardiology, ear nose and throat, oncology, ophthalmology and pain medicine. AVH is much more than a hospital and your best health requires much more than traditional hospital services.
Indeed, Dr. Guwande is right. Well-care is the best healthcare. During COVID, your wellbeing starts with protecting yourself, your family, friends and your community by being vaccinated and taking reasonable precautions such as masking indoors. We can’t stress that enough. But as we are seeing across the state and the country, we also can’t delay screening for disease and maintaining healthy diets and exercise. Too many patients are now consuming hospital capacity with illnesses that have been exacerbated by poor and delayed screening and medical care. That’s why AVH wants you to know that we are here for you, right now, and we are committed to your health and wellbeing.
To living healthy,