AVH’s Swing Bed Program: When a patient is not quite ready to go home

May 30, 2019
Imagine having just emerged from major surgery to repair damage from an accident. The procedure was a success and you already feel better. However, you still need to be closely monitored and receive specialized care before you are fully ready for discharge. The Swing Bed Program at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) may allow you to receive skilled nursing and rehabilitative care right here close to your home, family and friends.

“Keeping patients in their home community, near their loved ones, is a big advantage of our Swing Bed Program,” said Margie Slater, RN, Director of Inpatient Services at AVH. “Our patients receive excellent quality of care. And if something goes awry and they need to be acutely readmitted to the hospital, they are already here at AVH.”

What is the Swing Bed Program?

This program is a skilled rehabilitative level of care that is “similar to the care someone would receive in a nursing home on a skilled rehabilitation unit,” said AVH Quick read more or view full article Case Manager Marcella Steward-Knable, RN. “Swing bed patients no longer require 24-hour acute care, but do require medically supervised nursing care or rehabilitative service on a continuous basis while they heal and strengthen before returning home.”

While in the program, patients may receive a range of rehabilitative services such as physical, occupational, speech, recreational and respiratory therapy based on their specific needs. In addition, patients may receive nursing care such as dressing changes, nutritional assessments, psychosocial assessments and medication evaluations.

(AVH Swing Bed Program team left to right: Lisa Pranno, PT, DPT, GCS; Rachel Sollars, RN; Marcella Steward-Knable, BSN, RN; Julie Jenkins, RN; Michael Goralka, MD; and Margie Slater, RN. Not Pictured: Michelle Miscione, Phd; Brad Holmes, MD; Marissa Meinema, MS, OTR/L, CBIS; Jamie Britt, RN and Paige Taylor, RN.)

“A key component of the Swing Bed Program is that patients need to be active in all aspects of their care and recovery to remain in the program,” Steward-Knable said. “This includes resuming daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed and participating in organized activities.”

Who is eligible?
  • While there is no age requirement, the swing bed patient must be eligible for Part A Medicare or have skilled nursing benefits through private insurance.
  • In addition, the patient must have a three-night consecutive inpatient hospital stay within the past 30 days to qualify, and they must exhibit a continued skilled need related to that reason for hospitalization.
"While the Swing Bed Program offers a lot of advantages for many patients, it may not be appropriate for everyone," said AVH Case Manager Julie Jenkins, RN. “We have to look at each patient’s situation individually and make sure we can provide the care needed for the best possible outcomes.”

A multidisciplinary team — including the physician, case managers, therapists and registered dietitians — will review each prospective swing bed patient’s history to see if the program at AVH is the best fit. “For example, AVH may not be right for patients who have certain chronic illnesses or would not do well at Aspen’s higher altitude,” Jenkins said.

How long does a patient stay in the program?

This depends on each patient’s needs and condition. While in the program, patients and families will meet regularly with their multidisciplinary care team to determine the best plan of care for their transition back home.

“Our focus is on helping patients regain their independence and return to where they were before their surgery, accident or illness,” Jenkins said. “Since we started offering this program several years ago, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both patients and their loved ones.”

To learn more about AVH’s Swing Bed Program, please talk to your physician or call 970.544.1366.
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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

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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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