CU east campus may get medical building

BOULDER – A 40,000-square-foot medical building may be built on the University of Colorado-Boulder east campus in connection with a newly announced University of Colorado Health initiative to offer partially self-funded insurance plans.

The two-story medical building may be built on the southwest corner of Foothills Parkway and Colorado Avenue in the future, according to a drawing from the CU-Boulder Facilities Management department. The medical building would include sports medicine, radiology and pharmacy departments, among others, according to Andrew Kraemer, a spokesman at Davis Partnership Architects in Denver, which was involved in creating plans for the site.

Plans for the medical clinic are “preliminary” and are still going through internal review and approval, said Dan Weaver, a spokesman for the private, nonprofit UCHealth hospital system, which is based in Aurora. Building details – including financing and timing – have not been set, Weaver said.

The UCHealth system includes University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Poudre Valley Health System in Fort Collins, Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, the Memorial Hospital system in Colorado Springs and medical clinics around Colorado, among others.

A new medical building in Boulder would show UCHealth’s commitment to area businesses looking to join the self-funded insurance plan initiative, however, said Kathy Major, UCHealth’s executive director.

“There’s an effort under way to expand the network in Boulder going on right now,” Major said. “The clinic is an aspect of it that’s more tangible to show a commitment and coverage.”

UCHealth is marketing the partially self-funded insurance plan initiative to small businesses up and down the Front Range as ones that will cost 10 percent to 20 percent less than traditional insurance plans, Weaver said. Neither price details nor details about the partial nature of the self-funding insurance plans were immediately available on the initiative’s website, http://care.uchealth.org/tpa-info/. In general, self-funded insurance plans are funded by employers rather than insurance companies.

UCHealth Plan Administrators, a new division of UCHealth, will serve as the third-party administrator overseeing the initiative, according to a press release. UCHealth Plan Administrators will incorporate the activities of two legacy plan administrators – Medical Network of Colorado Springs and United Medical Alliance in Fort Collins, according to the press release.

“Employers are beginning a new era of directly providing coverage and care for their employees, and our focus is on helping them navigate this efficiently and simply,” Major said in the release.

UCHealth is believed to be the first hospital system in the Rocky Mountain region to get into third-party administrative services such as self-funded insurance plans, Weaver said. Kaiser Permanente health system, based in Oakland, California, offers an insurance product that brings people into its health system, but UCHealth actually owns hospitals in its health system, Weaver said.

The University of Colorado Hospital has about 8,000 outpatient visits every year, Weaver said. Partially self-funded plans will include high-deductible health insurance plans, health savings and reimbursement accounts and pharmacy plans, according to the press release.

University of Colorado Health was formed in early 2012, when administrators at Poudre Valley Health System and the University of Colorado Hospital approved a joint operating agreement. The University of Colorado Health system has annual net revenue of $1.5 billion and is one of Colorado’s largest employers, with nearly 10,000 employees, according to information on its website.

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