Changes coming to our oncology program

April 24, 2019

New physician, same great care

Continuity is important in any healthcare situation — especially for cancer patients and their families. That’s why Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) is working to ensure a smooth transition to our new oncology physician, Stephen Mayer MD, PhD, FACP.
We are extraordinarily grateful to Douglas Rovira, MD, our staff oncologist for many years, as he leaves the Aspen community for another opportunity. His commitment to our patients has been unsurpassed. Dr. Rovira will remain in his current position while Dr. Mayer joins us in late May and begins to establish relationships with our patients.
Dr. Mayer earned his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in medical oncology at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Mayer is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. Since 2015, he has served as a physician Quick read more or view full article at Kaiser Permanente Lone Tree Oncology and as a staff physician at Sky Ridge Medical Center, both in Lone Tree, Colorado.
During the transition, all of AVH’s other highly trained and experienced oncology program staff members will remain in place, helping to ensure that patients experience no disruption in their care.
“As our new oncologist, Dr. Mayer will pick up where Dr. Rovira leaves off, and I’m sure our patients will immediately feel comfortable and confident with him and his medical expertise,” said Nancee Dodge, FNP-C, AOCNP, an oncology-certified nurse practitioner and an AVH employee since 1996. “Our clinic will continue to see patients as usual, and we’ll all work closely to ensure that we don’t miss a beat during the transition.”
Dodge noted that while the staff oncologist is in the hospital one day a week, the clinic is open five days a week — implementing the physician’s orders, treating side effects, managing medications and more. “It takes a team,” she said. “All of us in the AVH oncology program look forward to continuing to serve the Aspen community with high-quality care.” Read Less
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The June Health Fair offers important health screenings at big savings

April 24, 2019

Book your blood draw appointment today!

Mark your calendar, put a reminder on your phone or tie a string to your finger. You don’t want to miss the Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) June Health Fair—June 6, 8 and 9. In fact, you can schedule your blood draw appointment starting today at
Open to the public, the highly anticipated annual event will offer many of the same services — and all of the same great benefits — as in past years, including blood draws and other screenings at much lower costs than in a traditional clinical setting. (If you have health insurance, check your benefits before participating, as not all plans cover health fair screenings. AVH will not submit to your health insurance.)

Take care of your health

In addition to the popular blood draws, the fair will feature screenings that empower participants to take control of their health. Blood pressure, vision and skin cancer Quick read more or view full article checks are always in demand, along with airflow evaluations and dental/oral cancer screenings. OrthoAspen’s Dr. Stanley Gertzbein will provide back screenings and Dan Green, PA-C, will perform additional orthopedic screenings. And for those who are eager to start on a healthier path forward right away, free information stations will be available from a variety of resources at AVH and from across the community. (See full list below.)
For the first time, blood draws will include a hemoglobin A1c test, a non-fasting screening recommended for anyone who has or is at risk of diabetes. The cost to have this test as part of the health fair is $30.
Other blood draw options include:
  • The Health Fair Profile (fasting is required), which measures 32 metabolic functions, including complete blood count, cholesterol levels and kidney function, as well as checking for infection, anemia and more — $65
  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test for men age 50 and older to help determine prostate cancer risk — $35
  • Vitamin D deficiency screening to measure D2 and D3 levels — $45
  • C-reactive protein tests for vascular inflammation, a cardiac risk — $35
  • Take-home colorectal cancer screening kit — $25
Hosting health fairs is a key component of AVH’s commitment to making our community a healthy place to live, work and play, according to Jennifer Slaughter, AVH Director of Community Relations.
“The health fairs are a critical component of AVH’s vision, which is to foster our community as the healthiest in the nation,” Slaughter said. “It is part of our ongoing focus on population health. By promoting prevention and early detection of certain health issues, we can help our community members be more successful in managing their own health; which in the long term, benefits not only health fair participants, but can keep overall healthcare costs down.”


Open to area residents age 18 and older
Thursday, June 6, 8 - 11 a.m.
Blood draw only
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Cree Road, Aspen
Saturday, June 8, 8 - 11 a.m.
Blood draw only
El Jebel Community Center
20 Eagle County Road, El Jebel
Sunday, June 9, 8 - 11 a.m.
Blood draw, plus FREE additional screenings and information stations
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Cree Road, Aspen
Remember: To book your blood draw appointment today or learn more about the Health Fair, visit Appointments for blood draws are highly encouraged, but walk-ins are always welcome. Please be sure to arrive an hour prior to closing on Sunday, June 9, if you are interested in the free health screenings and information stations listed below. Payments are taken at the event in CASH or CHECK ONLY.
Free Health Screenings
  • Air flow and oximetry
  • Back screenings with Stanley D. Gertzbein, MD, of OrthoAspen
  • Blood pressure
  • Dental and oral cancer screening
  • Height, weight and body mass index
  • Orthopedic screenings with Dan Greene, PA-C, of OrthoAspen
  • Skin cancer checks
  • Vision screening
Information Stations
  • After-Hours Medical Care
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Aspen Strong
  • Diabetes and nutrition education
  • HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley
  • Midvalley Surgery Center
  • Snowmass Medical Care
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Program
  • WE-cycle
  • Wellness programs at AVH
  • Whitcomb Terrace Assisted Living
See you at the fair!
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Groundbreaking “Pop-Up” Experience is Coming to Aspen April 6 – 8

March 29, 2019

OrthoAspen and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) offer a fun, free, high-tech assessment of your musculoskeletal health

Pop-up shops, pop-up restaurants and pop-up art exhibits are old news. But a pop-up experience to assess your musculoskeletal health? Now that’s cool — and on its way to Aspen, thanks to OrthoAspen in affiliation with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the No. 1 ranked hospital in orthopedic care for nine consecutive years, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The OrthoAspen/HSS Pop-Up Experience, to be held April 6 in downtown Aspen’s Gondola Plaza and April 7 and 8 at Aspen Valley Hospital, will use groundbreaking technology and augmented reality to assess aspects of an individual’s musculoskeletal health, including mobility, symmetry, strength and alignment. Participation is free, and the experience is just one high-tech, high-profile result of the collaboration between OrthoAspen and HSS to bring advanced orthopedic services to the Roaring Fork Valley.
“An enormous part Quick read more or view full article of our mission is to teach people in the community and empower them to take action to improve their musculoskeletal health,” said Robert DiGiacomo, PT, DPT, ATC, Assistant Vice President, Sports Rehabilitation & Performance Centers at HSS. “This is one of the tactile, strategic and very cool ways we are creating a medical bridge between OrthoAspen and HSS.”
“This Pop-Up Experience is an exciting progression of our collaboration with HSS,” said Jennifer Slaughter, Director of Community Relations at AVH. “The augmented reality technology is fascinating to see and experience. For our active community, it can provide great insight into how your movement affects your musculoskeletal health.”
HSS has the technology permanently installed at one of its locations, but the Aspen event will be the public debut of the mobile version, coming only four days after its world debut at HSS’ main campus in New York City in conjunction with a major CNBC event.
Quick Experience, Potentially Lifelong Benefits
The pop-up experience will take only a few minutes but will provide information that may lead to lifelong benefits. Here’s how it works:
After completing a quick registration process, the participant will enter an open-sided structure measuring 10 feet by 10 feet. There, over an eight-minute period, the participant will be guided through a series of simple movements, including:
  • Bilateral and unilateral squats
  • A vertical jump
  • Unilateral jumps to the right and left
Meanwhile dozens of complex cameras, sensors and proprietary software will use markerless motion capture technology to record data about the individual’s musculoskeletal system in motion. The participant can watch on a video screen as augmented reality displays his or her moving image superimposed with a rendering of the musculoskeletal system.
Individualized Report
After completing the movements, the individual will exit the structure and meet privately with an HSS specialist trained in interpreting the captured data. The specialist will generate a two-page report that shows results such as:
  • An analysis of the person’s quality of movement, including mobility and symmetry at the hips, knees and ankles
  • The alignment of the person’s hips, knees and ankles
  • The force attenuation, which shows how efficiently and evenly the body dissipates force, as when landing on both feet after a vertical jump
The report (which the participant will also receive via email) goes on to explain how the results can affect musculoskeletal health, as well as offer practical steps to address any issues, reduce the risk of injury and improve performance. In addition, the report compares a participant’s results with that of their cohorts’ and, in some cases, the results of high school, collegiate and professional athletes.
DiGiacomo cautioned that the results are meant to be informational only: “We’re not prescribing healthcare,” he said. “We’re helping participants interpret the results of the experience and be better informed.”
However, he noted that everyone — no matter their physical activity level or overall health status — can have fun with the pop-up experience and benefit from the information they receive.
“We want to make participating as inviting and comfortable as possible,” DiGiacomo said. “Every single person who goes through this will have new, actionable information that will help them better prevent injury and improve performance. Even for people who don’t exercise, the information can be empowering and helpful and interesting.”

The Details

What: OrthoAspen/HSS Pop-up Experience, a high-tech assessment of musculoskeletal health

April 6, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm | Gondola Plaza, Downtown Aspen
April 7, 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm | Aspen Valley Hospital
April 8, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm | Aspen Valley Hospital

How: Simply visit the pop-up between hours of operation

Cost: Free Read Less
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Discover all of the benefits of the Midvalley Imaging Center

February 28, 2019

A Q&A with Midvalley Imaging Center's Natalie Johnson:

Q: Besides a competitive MRI price with no “gotcha fees,” what are some other benefits you can expect from the Midvalley Imaging Center?
A: High-quality images, no waiting, ample parking at our convenient Basalt location, and personalized, friendly service provided by a highly-experienced, tenured staff — those are some of the best benefits of the Midvalley Imaging Center. But perhaps the most important benefit is that, in most cases, you can schedule to have your MRI scans within one to three business days of calling for an appointment.
Q: Why does it matter to have your MRI scan completed so quickly?
A: The faster the diagnosis, the faster you can receive care for your orthopedic or neurological condition, according to Natalie Johnson, RT, MR, who has been the face of the imaging center for the past 10 years. In addition, prompt medical attention for many medical conditions Quick read more or view full article is associated with improved long-term health outcomes. Therefore, completing diagnostic images quickly is a crucial early step in ensuring you heal as fully as possible.
“You don’t want to risk further damage by having to wait for your MRI and then wait more for your follow-up care,” Johnson said. “That’s why it’s so wonderful that we can work in tandem with OrthoAspen and the Midvalley Surgery Center, both of which are in the same office complex. Very often, we have patients who walk over from OrthoAspen to have a scan here at the imaging center and then go right back to schedule their surgery at OrthoAspen.”
Q: What can you expect when you schedule an MRI at the Midvalley Imaging Center?
A: Because we offer only appointment-based visits, there is no waiting when you arrive. Each appointment is scheduled for one full hour, so you will have plenty of time to ask questions and become completely comfortable with the procedure.
Q: Tell me about the MRI technology utilized at the Midvalley Imaging Center.
A: The center is equipped with GE 1.5 Tesla state-of-the-art technology, so we generate the clearest images possible. In addition, the center is fully accredited through the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission to perform orthopedic and neurological imaging.
Q: What if I have health insurance?
A: At the Midvalley Imaging Center, we believe in complete cost transparency. If you have health insurance, we will explain any copay, coinsurance or other out-of-pocket costs you may incur.
Q: How do I schedule an appointment at the Midvalley Imaging Center?
A: Simply call 970-927-5087 or visit



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The sooner the care, the better the health outcomes

January 31, 2019
Direct access helps physical therapy patients save time, money and hassle

It’s a fact: Providing patients with direct access to physical therapy services is proven to improve medical outcomes, lower costs and make wiser use of healthcare resources. Now, area residents and visitors can enjoy these benefits with direct access to physical therapists at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH).
Direct access is the ability for individuals to see a physical therapist without a physician’s order. In the past, for example, a skier who has a sore back or a hiker who sprained her ankle might have to wait a while before receiving specialized therapeutic treatment. That’s because they first had to call their primary care physician for an appointment, wait for the appointment, and then have the physician assess the injury and write the referral for physical therapy.
“The old system was essentially delaying treatment,” said Louie Carder, Director of Rehabilitation Services at AVH. “With direct access, the patient can contact our Quick read more or view full article physical therapy department directly, schedule an appointment and start receiving care within a few days, if not sooner.”
A vital part of a sensible solution
Direct access was introduced in Nebraska in 1957, and it is now available in many nations around the world. Every U.S. state has some form of direct access, although specific rules and policies vary. In Colorado, direct access provides physical therapists with the important advantage of being able to order imaging services as part of a thorough evaluation of the patient’s injury. If the physical therapist determines that the situation requires more intensive care than physical therapy can provide, he or she will send the patient to a physician who can address the larger issues.
“We’re not trying to replace physicians. There are serious injuries and diagnoses where patients do need to see a primary care provider or orthopedist first,” Carder said. “We’re trying to capture musculoskeletal injuries that are not as serious and can be treated effectively through physical therapy with as little delay as possible.”
Patient-focused approach to care
The benefits of direct access are most apparent to patients, who stand to save time and hassle, receive a diagnosis faster and start treatment sooner.
“We’re doing this for the patients,” AVH Physical Therapist James Spencer said. “Not only can direct access lower costs for patients, it can also save them from unneeded imaging and medications that might be ordered. Most important, we’re trying to decrease the time between when the injury occurs and when the patient starts receiving treatment. Studies show that the sooner we can treat the individual, the better the patient’s outcome.”
A growing body of research backs up the efficacy and efficiency of direct access. A study published in the March 2, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association found that “physical therapists practicing in a direct access capacity have the potential to decrease costs and improve outcomes in patients with musculoskeletal complaints without prescribing medications and ordering adjunctive testing that could introduce harm to the patient.”
In addition, a 2016 article in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, which focused on a review of previous research involving direct access for physical therapy patients with spinal pain, concluded, “Studies consistently showed that early receipt of physical therapy was not associated with unfavorable outcomes (more pain/function/disability, increased medical utilization, more physical therapy visits per episode) or with increased cost.”
Putting physical therapists’ skills to use
Direct access’ benefits are evident across the board. It can free up primary care physicians’ time, since some patients can now bypass the referral process. Because it potentially saves money, direct access can also reduce costs for health insurance providers. (Carder cautioned that patients should check with their health plan for specific benefit information. AVH does not currently accept Medicare or Medicaid coverage for direct access.)
Physical therapists also like direct access because it allows them to perform tasks for which they are already trained, such as screening and diagnosing patients.
“It’s a better use of our expertise, because we’re using a broader range of our capabilities,” Spencer said. “When a patient comes to us directly, we get to use the diagnostic skills we developed during our training — being more of an investigator and figuring out the puzzle on the front end. We’re highly trained in musculoskeletal conditions, and an important piece of direct access is that we’re trained to know when a patient needs a higher level of care.”
To learn more about direct access at AVH or to schedule a physical therapy session with one of our therapists, please call 970-544-1177. Read Less
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