Kaiser picks two sites, eyes a third in NoCo

Kaiser Permanente, which announced its entrance into the Northern Colorado market in December, has selected two specific locations for its Fort Collins and Loveland offices, and has set the anticipated open date for both offices as Oct. 1.

In Fort Collins, the health care giant will lease a 21,000-square-foot space at 2950 Harmony Road. In Loveland, Kaiser has purchased the 30,000-square-foot space currently inhabited by Eheart Interior Solutions at 4901 Thompson Parkway. Eheart is expected to close at that location by the end of March before relocating to Fort Collins.

Both locations will offer family and internal medicine, pediatrics, a draw station and testing area, routine radiology services and a fully stocked pharmacy. The Loveland location will also offer mammography services.

Kaiser is also planning a Greeley facility, expected to be open by 2014.
The Loveland and Fort Collins locations will each employ approximately two-dozen health care professionals. Kaiser is projecting that its expansion over the next two years will add approximately 100 health-care jobs to Northern Colorado.

The buildings will both need to be renovated to include patient rooms, a pharmacy and other necessities for a medical office.

Kaiser is making its foray into Northern Colorado by partnering with Banner Health, the Arizona-based health system that operates McKee Medical Center in Loveland and North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley.

Kaiser currently serves more than 526,000 Colorado residents with its health plans, 6,000 of whom reside in Northern Colorado and travel to the Denver-Boulder area to access care. Kaiser also has a presence in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, with 24 medical clinics statewide.

This fall, Kaiser expects its commercial health plans to become available for both large and small groups, according to company spokesperson Amy Whited. Individual and family coverage is expected to become available in 2013, and after that, pending government approval, Kaiser will be able to offer Medicare and Medicaid advantage plans in the Northern Colorado market.

Kaiser filed its expansion plan with the Colorado Division of Insurance in December, and the plan is currently under actuarial review, according to Marianne Goodland of the Division of Insurance. The actuarial review period gives regulators 60 days to approve plans submitted by insurance providers.

A decision on the matter is expected before the end of March, and Kaiser fully expects approval. The company is still putting together plans for what rates will be and what the coverage offered will look like, Whited said.

The partnership with Banner will allow Kaiser policyholders to receive care at either Kaiser or Banner facilities, Whited said, a departure from the way the company operates in other parts of the state, where Kaiser plans can only be used at Kaiser clinics.

“The Northern Colorado market will operate under a different model than Denver-Boulder,” Whited said. Working with Banner will allow Kaiser to capitalize on the reputation Banner has built in the community, she said.

Patients who visit any of the Kaiser medical clinics will go to either McKee or NCMC in the event that hospital care is needed. In addition to the two hospitals, Banner Health operates clinics in Fort Collins, Windsor, Berthoud, Eaton and Johnstown.

The Fort Collins office location, on Harmony, is in the southeast part of town, just minutes from Interstate 25, while the Loveland location at the intersection of I-25 and Highway 34.

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