Health Briefs, June 3, 2014

Ex-St. Mary’s CEO retires after 25 years

Longtime senior executive Robert W. Ladenburger, executive vice president of hospital operations for SCL Health System and President and CEO of Exempla Healthcare, has retired.

No successor has been chosen, SCL Health announced.

Ladenburger, a well-known figure in Colorado health care, joined SCL Health in 1999 as president and CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital, where he served until 2010.

During this time, St. Mary’s became nationally recognized for its role in establishing Grand Junction as a market for innovative approaches to health care.

In 2009, President Barack Obama held one of his “town hall” meetings in Grand Junction highlighting the community as one that demonstrated success in providing high-quality, cost-effective health care.

Ladenburger has been involved in a variety of local and state service roles. He served as chairman of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Colorado Hospital Association and as a member of the Denver Metro Chamber and the Colorado Forum.

SCL Health in 2010 appointed Ladenburger to oversee Exempla Healthcare’s three Denver hospitals — Saint Joseph Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center — and to lead the integration of those operations into the SCL Health system.

He was subsequently executive vice president of hospital operations and extended his oversight to the $2.5 billion nonprofit health system’s eight other hospitals in California, Kansas and Montana.

Ladenburger plans to spend time with his family, including two grandchildren, and take greater advantage of the hiking trails outside of Estes Park with his wife, Susie.

“I am indebted and very grateful for the collegial support that Bob has provided to me and to the SCL Health leadership team as we have navigated through changes and challenges,” said SCL Health President and CEO Michael Slubowski said in a news release. “Bob has truly been a trusted partner, advisor and friend. He is a consummate professional and known by all who encounter him as a steady, kind and caring leader. He will be missed.”

Delta hospital, North Fork Clinics join


Delta County Memorial Hospital is partnering with the North Fork Clinics in Hotchkiss and Paonia to provide additional primary care providers to meet the medical needs of North Fork families, hospital CEO Jason Cleckler said in a news release. 

Two of the family physicians that North Fork residents know well will continue at the North Fork Clinics. Drs. Tim Meilner and Michelle Hundley, both family practice physicians, will continue to offer medical care, but now in a more streamlined and efficient medical clinic model designed and operated by the hospital.

“We are working hard to avoid long wait times for appointments so that North Fork residents may access medical care in a timely manner. Some specialty physicians such as obstetrics and gynecology physicians currently practicing in Delta will rotate to the North Fork,” Cleckler said.

Keeping rural primary care physicians in the area is a vital part of offering medical care to all Delta County residents, including families in the North Fork, he said.

By working cooperatively with the existing clinics, the Delta hospital will employ additional physicians and mid-level practitioners such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners to help fill the gap left when providers leave.

“With this country already facing a shortage of family physicians, rural areas are especially hard pressed to recruit and retain primary care providers to serve local families,” Cleckler said.

Affordable Care Act impacts are already being felt with higher numbers of Medicaid participants who also need medical services, he said.

Along with many other transformations in health care, including electronic medical records, independent primary care clinics are having increasing difficulty in remaining in business as independent practices.

Currently DCMH owns and operates seven medical clinics including: Internal Medicine Associates, DCMH Primary Care (formerly Delta Pediatrics), Premier Women’s Healthcare of Delta, Colorow Family Medical Clinic in Olathe, Grand Mesa Oncology Center, Grand Mesa Rheumatology, and Delta-Montrose Home Health Services.

Stay safe outdoors with these tips


Wear insect repellent, swim with a buddy and many other safety tips are being urged by Mesa County Health Department in time for summer recreation.

To prevent heat stress, illness and injury this season, the county recommends:

■ Wear sunscreen daily. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Don’t forget ears, neck, scalp, hands and feet. Reapply every two hours.

■ Wear insect repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil lemon eucalyptus to protect against mosquito bites, which can transmit West Nile Virus. To further protect against mosquito bites, stay inside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, wear long sleeves and pants and drain standing water on your property.

■ Drink plenty of fluids. During hot weather, increase your fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

■ Keep kids and pets out of parked cars, even with the windows down.

■ Be sure your tetanus vaccine is up to date. Playing outdoors can mean getting cuts that may become infected with bacteria found in soil, including the ones that cause tetanus. A booster shot is recommended every 10 years.

■ Pay attention to food temperatures when planning or attending a picnic, barbecue or potluck. Food that’s been out too long can make you sick. A general rule of thumb: Perishable food should not be kept at room temperature longer than four hours, including preparation time.

■ Before mowing, clear the lawn of any rocks, sticks or children’s toys. Consider wearing goggles or other protective gear before mowing or doing other yard work or handiwork around the house.

■ Swim with a buddy. Watch children in or near water closely at all times. Never dive head first into shallow water or a lake where you can’t see the bottom.

■ Stay on the trail when hiking. Tell someone else where you are going and when you expect to be back. Take plenty of water and food, as well as a compass, sunscreen and extra clothes.


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