As rural hospitals across the country fight to stay open in the face of population loss, UCHealth in Aurora, Colo., has the opposite problem.
The population around Denver is growing so quickly that the health system is opening community hospitals around the region to serve patients conveniently and relieve capacity strains on the main campus.
Over the past few months, UCHealth, whose flagship is the University of Colorado Hospital, has opened UCHealth Grandview Hospital in Colorado Springs and UCHealth Broomfield Hospital in Broomfield, Colo. In August, UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital in Longmont is slated to open.
And last week, UCHealth broke ground on the fourth of five community hospitals that it is building as part of a major expansion plan.
Its six-story, $310 million UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital is expected to open in early 2019, the academic medical system said in a release. It is going up in Highlands Ranch, a booming suburb of Denver located about 12 miles south of the city.
"As construction begins at the site of the future Highlands Ranch Hospital, we look ahead with great anticipation to the unique and advanced health services we will be offering to this community and beyond," said hospital CEO Diane Cookson.
The U.S. Census Bureau ranked Denver last year as the nation's fast-growing large city.
Denver's population is growing at about 3% per year, vaulting the metropolitan area into the top 20 nationally.