March 23, 2012: A Press Conference was held at the State Capitol on March 21, 2012 to announce that the Sister’s of Charity of Leavenworth Health Systems is relocating it’s headquarters to Denver. The benefits this will have on the Colorado Health Care Industry are discussed in the Denver Business Journal.
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System’s (SCL) decision to relocate its headquarters to Denver could push other health care firms to move here as Colorado’s national reputation in the industry grows, local officials predict. SCL, a $2.7 billion nonprofit now located in Lenexa, Kan., operates four hospitals in Colorado — Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Example Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette and St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. It announced March 21 that it will relocate about 750 jobs to the Denver area in the next four years, hiring 650 new workers. Roughly 500 of the jobs will be at a new service center in Broomfield, while the rest will go to an expanded corporate office in Denver and an existing information technology shop in Lakewood, President/CEO Michael Slubowski said. SCL’s four facilities in Colorado account for 52 percent of company revenue. But Slubowski also said Denver is “an attractive location for recruiting or relocating our staff.” Steven Summer, president/CEO of the Colorado Hospital Association, said the presence of a second major hospital system’s headquarters in the area — Catholic Health Initiatives is based in the Inverness area of Arapahoe County — will make this a more attractive potential home for other medical companies because there will be a ready supply of high-level professionals for their staffs. “I think this will allow companies to stay here and grow as people grow within the sector rather than within one institution,” Summer said. “It has to be a recognition of the great health care system here … Maybe it won’t be long before we’re rivaling [hospital industry hotbed] Nashville.” The health care industry is the seventh-largest in the state, employing roughly 70,000 people who make average salaries of $55,000 a year, Gov. John Hickenlooper said. It’s considered one of 15 key industries by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and one of eight industry clusters targeted by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. for expansion. The first companies that could respond to SCL’s relocation could be suppliers of the national hospital system, which tend to locate near a headquarters so that the system can test products quickly and regularly, Summer suggested. Slubowski said that no suppliers of the 11-facility system have spoken with him yet about relocating, though he suggested some might like to develop a branch office near Denver. Ken Lund, OEDIT executive director, said he expects to talk to SCL officials about which partners they’d like to have near their headquarters and work with SCL to try to recruit those companies. Having a second major health care system in the metro area also makes Denver more attractive to companies in the medical field, such as biotech firms and medical information technology specialists that have begun to populate the area already, Summer said. As those proliferate, physicians are likely to take notice and put Colorado higher on their list of places to be, he said.