Health Care & Insurance  September 1, 2023

Estes Park Health’s ‘Mr. Fix-It’ to retire

ESTES PARK – Gary Hall, Estes Park Health’s chief information officer, will retire effective Wednesday after 18 years with the health system.

A successor has yet to be named.

During his tenure, Hall, 71, oversaw EPH’s migration to an integrated electronic health record system through a partnership with Aurora-based UCHealth and has advocated for its potential affiliation with a larger health system to provide long-term stability for Estes Park’s local hospital. 

Hall converted the radiology suite to digital and created redundancy of information-technology systems to prevent downtime. Hall noted that Estes Park Health had only a single fiber link into town for many years.

“We had six megabits of internet access when I arrived,” Hall said in a prepared statement. “Now, with Trailblazer, for which we were strong advocates, and other steps forward, we enjoy internet line redundancy and many gigabits of critical broadband service.”

Hall also dealt with the September 2013 flood, which cut off internet and cell service, helped ensure that a 2019 ransomware attack didn’t affect patient care, and set up an IT hub in a friend’s basement in Loveland when Estes Park was evacuated because of the approach of the East Troublesome wildfire in 2020.

Over the years at EPH, besides IT, Hall managed the facilities team, medical records, materials management, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, rehabilitative services, emergency management, dietary services, environmental services, marketing/media and more.

“I’ve sometimes said that I do everything except IVs,” Hall said. “I’ve been Mr. Fix-It at EPH and I’ve tried to bring kindness to the process of supporting services across the enterprise. I very much enjoy working for a smaller organization like EPH, where you can truly impact the direction of the organization and therefore truly help support the best patient care possible.”

Hall worked to aid construction of the building’s east wings through a 2006-07 bond issue, the emergency department expansion in 2009, the addition of the first MRI/CT suite in 2013/2014, and the procurement of three houses north of the building to provide on-call housing for emergency management services and others.

Hall was highly involved in the creation of the Urgent Care Center in 2020 and also converted the entire radiology suite to digital equipment over the years, including the addition of 3-D mammography in 2020. Working to create redundancy of tools at EPH to prevent downtime for patient care, he seized on opportunities to procure “two of everything” so that lab tests are always available 24/7 for the community.

He built telehealth options and helped create negative-pressure rooms during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, and has overseen the movement toward telecommuting.

For the past two years, Hall has been nominated by his peers and was a finalist for a CIO of the Year award in Colorado for EPH’s size of organization.

Before moving to Estes Park in 2003 with his wife, Linda, Hall had a 27-year career in the for-profit world, including as IT director for Metromail and Experian. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

The Halls were involved in founding the Estes Park Marathon in 2004. Gary Hall is also a musician who has performed at venues around town, is a member of several musical groups and has recorded original music.

“It’s been a wonderful time at EPH,” Gary said. “I’ve built lifetime friendships with many current and past employees, as well as community members. I’ve very much enjoyed being an ambassador for Estes Park Health, and I’ll continue to do that even as I step away. Providing all these services is tremendous and difficult work on the part of the EPH employees and we’ve been fortunate to have many dedicated, highly skilled people providing or supporting wonderful patient care through all of the ups and downs.”

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