Friday, June 22, 2007

A Hyatt for the Springs -- sort of

Colorado Springs has its first Hyatt hotel, sort of.
The former AmeriSuites hotel at 503 Garden of the Gods Road was converted to a Hyatt Place hotel on May 25 amid a $2 million renovation set for completion June 28. The 124-room hotel was built in 1997 as a Sumner Suites hotel and was converted to the AmeriSuites brand in 2000.
Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corp. acquired the AmeriSuites chain in 2005 and will convert all 120 hotels to the Hyatt Place brand by year’s end. The chain also operates two hotels in Englewood and Lone Tree and is scheduled to open another property in Aurora next month.

The Hyatt Place chain targets business travelers in a niche between limited-service and full-service hotels, meaning the hotel has no bell staff or restaurant, but does have a café and some room service at rates currently ranging from $109 to $179 a night. The lobby area, which Hyatt Place calls The Gallery and is show above, features a check-in kiosk, a coffee and wine café, a television viewing area and computers and printers for guests.

Hospital transcriptionists repond to article

The article on medical transcription jobs being outsourced at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, which published June 14 in the Gazette Business section, drew several reader comments.

Springs resident Betty Wilson talked about her experience of working for MedQuist, a national transcription service for hospitals and physicians that Penrose and other Centura Health hospitals will outsource its work to. While she was working there, Wilson said, the company started outsourcing half of its work to sites in India, the Philippines and Thailand.

"It's a real sore spot with American transcriptionists, and I was interested to see Penrose is outsourcing to a company that outsources overseas," she said.

Regarding Centura's claim that MedQuist will offer comparable positions to medical transcriptionists losing their jobs at Centura, Heidi, who spent eight years as a hospital transcriptionist, had this to say:

"According to what Centura has stated, MedQuist will be paying those who 'migrate' -- but the base pay will not be comparable. Based on the minimum requirement to stay employed, about 150-160 lines an hours multiplied by eight hours, they'll get about 8-9 cents a line. That will give the average employee only about two-thirds of their previous base pay.

"On top of that, Penrose-St. Francis paid what I believe was the highest bonus (on top of base pay) in the Centura system. I know for a fact that Porter Hospital/Adventist transcriptionists in Denver were only making about 25 percent of the bonus rate when I left there a few years ago, compared with what Penrose/St. Francis had been paying.

"So, this is financially going to severely affect not only those who will no longer receive a bonus for high productivity on top of base pay, it will really hurt those who were pretty much average producers although just as reliable and good employees who were earning just the base wage.

"From many conversations with my peers as well as attending meetings of the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists for the last 15 years, I think we all feel about the same -- that physicians receive quality and timely work turnaround from in-house staff who get to know the dictators, their style, their idiosyncrasies over time and are invested in the organization.

"Another point is that hospital transcriptionists are those who have at least five to 10 years multi-specialty experience in acute-care settings. It is one of those professions where it is difficult to obtain a job at a hospital without hospital experience. We usually intern at a hospital to enter hospital work."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Health foundation awards grants

The Colorado Health Foundation recently approved grants totaling $5.26 million to health-related nonprofits.

Major recipients include:

  • Colorado Bright Beginnings: $361,000 to provide parenting assistance to families

  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: $895,275 to help seniors manage chronic diseases

  • Colorado Center for Law and Policy: $675,000 to ensure low-income residents receive quality health care

  • Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council: $385,205 to physicians treating children

  • Cerebral Palsy of Colorado: $277,050 to provide services to 700 young children and families

  • Mile High Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: $259,510 to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by methamphetamine users

  • Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association: $805,909 to expand the Moffat County Care Clinic, which serves low-income residents

  • Pueblo Community College: $509,405 to provide dental services to low-income residents

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shoe Carnival helps MDA

Shoe Carnival stores have joined the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s battle against neuromuscular disease. Until July 3, patrons can assist MDA’s lifesaving mission by purchasing and signing $1 and $5 mobiles. The stores will decorate their windows and walls with layers of the yellow and blue mobiles. Shoe Carnival is a chain of 277 footwear stores, including two in Colorado Springs.

Cancer treatment expands

Physicians of Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers now are providing services at the Colorado Springs Health Partners Cancer Center at 209 S. Nevada Ave.

Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers is the state's largest provider of cancer care, with two locations in Colorado Springs and 65 physicians statewide.

Colorado Springs Health Partners is the largest physician-owned, multi-specialty practice in Colorado Springs with 80 physicians and 11 practice locations.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ent is losing Hope -- literally

Ent Federal Credit Union is losing hope, literally.
Southern Colorado’s largest financial institution will close its Hope branch July 6 because its lease on the building expires July 31, said Jim Moore, Ent’s senior vice president. Ent sold the branch in 2005 to partnership headed by developer Chuck Murphy.
Ent acquired the branch at 555 E. Costilla St. in a 1989 merger with Hope-Coronado Federal Credit Union, but got a larger, more convenient downtown branch at 123 S. Weber St. in a 2001 merger with Mountain Bell Credit Union. The Weber Street branch will remain open.
The four employees at the Hope branch will be relocated to other branches, Moore said. The credit union is expanding — it plans to open its newest branch by July 31 at 16050 Old Forest Point in Monument and is studying expanding branches in Briargate, Falcon and Fountain.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coast IRB opens local office

Coast Independent Review Board LLC, a company that monitors the safety of drugs and medical devices, opened a temporary office in Colorado Springs on May 14. Within 60 days, the company will move into a permanent, 10,000-square-foot office at 5475 Mark Dabling Blvd., suite 351. The new office is undergoing remodeling, said Bill Darnell, project manager.

The Orange County, Calif.-headquartered Coast IRB announced in February it would open an office in Colorado Springs and bring 180 jobs in the next five years.

The work force is at 16 now, Darnell said. He expects employees to number 50 by the end of this year.

The company focuses on protecting patients of clinical reserach trials.

VillaSport memberships available

VillaSport, which will be the city’s largest athletic club, has begun selling memberships at its onsite membership office, 5904 Prairie Schooner Drive, near the southwest corner of Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard. The club, with 88,000 square feet of space on 11 acres, is expected to open this fall.