While we can completely understand and share the optimism and hope that a new year brings for better times ahead, which it assuredly will, Aspen Valley Hospital has also been celebrating all that we and our community have to be thankful for over the past 12 months. Despite its terrible reputation and 1-star rating, 2020 wasn’t all bad.
First and foremost, the vaccination process for COVID-19 started in 2020. That’s something! In reality, we will be well into 2021 before we reach population immunity and can begin to relax our preventive measures. This edition includes some commonly asked questions regarding the vaccine, where you can learn more about the rapidly evolving vaccination process. AVH is partnering with Pitkin County Public Health to get our community vaccinated as soon as we receive the vaccines from the state.
2020 was a year of innovation and resilience in many ways, as our staff and physicians had to envision and execute new services and deliver our usual care in new ways that assure the safety of all patients and as much protection for our staff and physicians as possible. As our physician experts studied the virus and how to prevent and treat it, based on rapidly evolving science and evidence, we continuously updated our protocols and processes for the best results. These innovations were evident in everything we did and continue to this day in the form of our Respiratory Evaluation Center, our community testing sites, and in the more intensive and emergency care that we provide to those with moderate and severe symptoms.
We also celebrate the lasting partnerships we have created and strengthened over these past 10 months, during which our hospital and our clinics have existed as a part of a larger system of public health and medical care providers. We have maintained daily communications with networks of other hospitals across the state, on the Western Slope, and with our more immediate neighbors to assure that we optimize the use of our collective resources while comparing notes to accelerate the learning process and create more uniform approaches to our work.
Our partnership with Pitkin County Public Health has perhaps been the most rewarding as we have linked arms to combat the virus and slow its spread. When it became apparent, back in April, that the state would not be providing testing options in most rural communities, as necessary to identify and “box in” the virus, we initiated our own hospital- and provider-based testing at a community level. And then, when the state came through with testing this fall, just in time for the surge in cases, we again partnered to assist with operating Curative sites in downtown Aspen and Basalt, while another partner, Roaring Fork Neurology, operates additional sites at Snowmass Town Hall and the airport. Now private industry is bringing additional sites on-line, at the local Clark’s Pharmacy, and in cooperation with large local employers.
All the while, AVH continues to provide extraordinary care for all patients, care for which we are well known. We were awarded with Five Stars by Medicare for our patient experience, and we received a Guardian of Excellence award for both our Emergency Care and Inpatient experience by Press Ganey, the authority on improving healthcare safety, quality and experience. And of course, we consummated one of the most exciting and impactful new partnerships in our history with The Steadman Clinic. During the month of December, in their first month of Aspen operations, our new partners have been warmly welcomed by an excited community that has entrusted them with their orthopedic care.
Indeed, 2020 had its share of successes and points of pride for our physicians and staff. As stewards of our community’s healthcare, it is our privilege to look forward to 2021 and the healthcare opportunities that it will bring. Among these are our continued partnership with Pitkin County Public Health to assist with vaccinations as they become available. You can rest assured that AVH will be there in 2021, as we have for 130 years, as your community hospital.
Best wishes for a safe and healthy New Year!