by Douglas Walter
Since opening three years ago, Sky Ridge Medical Center has had to hustle to meet the needs and keep up with of its fast-moving community in growing Douglas County and the surrounding areas.
Last month may have topped the staffs efforts in responding to the needs of the community, as doctors and nurses accommodated a record 285 births at the hospital in the month of May.
That averages out to nine births per day, which meant plenty of work for the delivery staff at Sky Ridge Medical Center.
"Sky Ridge is pleased that we have set a new record for births at our hospital," said Lenora Walker, Director of Women’s & Children’s Services at Sky Ridge Medical Center. "This is a testament to the wonderful staff, superb medical team and the comforting, family-friendly environment we offer."
But the impressive number of births also may be a reflection of the growing community and Sky Ridge’s work to continue to grow with the developments it serves.
Douglas County is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, as it continues to develop new communities that are quickly becoming the southern stretches of the Denver metro area.
Logically, HealthONE opened the doors at Sky Ridge in August 2003 with 106 beds to serve the community, which also includes southern Arapahoe County and surrounding municipalities.
And residents were eager for the opening. In fact, speaking of babies, 52 minutes after Sky Ridge opened, nurses and doctors delivered the first baby at the hospital.
"We knew, through research and discussions with local leaders, that there was a tremendous need for a regional hospital in this location," Maureen Tarrant, president and CEO of HealthONE, said. "But no one predicted how thoroughly the people in our community would embrace Sky Ridge. More then 3,000 people attended a preview event before we opened. And we saw more patients in our emergency department than we expected right at the start.".
Since then, things haven’t really slowed down for the hospital, and not just in the baby department, said Linda Watson, director of marketing and public affairs for Sky Ridge.
"The hospital really has grown by leaps and bounds," Watson said.
That is evident when considering that Sky Ridge has already undergone some significant expansions in its three years history in the area.
In February, officials added another 18 beds to its intensive care unit, making 30 beds in all. Then in March, the hospital built out its fourth floor for dedicated spine and ortho. This added another 29 beds and a rehabilitation gym specifically for these patients.
"We currently do more spine surgeries than any hospital in Colorado," Watson said.
Furthermore, plans are underway to add another six operating rooms, as well as a third medical office building and a covered parking structure. Future expansions include building out the third floor and adding another 29 beds and a cardiac-rehab center, according to Watson.
And while hospital officials continue to plan for growth, its staff continues to work hard to meet the present needs of the community, Watson said.
Sky Ridge was number one in patient satisfaction across all HCA hospitals in the second quarter of 2006, she said.
That likely includes a large number of mothers and fathers who had babies born in the month of May.
"Our community has embraced our philosophy and we are proud to be their hospital of choice," Walker said.