In the years since Castle Rock Adventist Hospital opened its doors, the facility's staff has helped bring more than 3,220 babies into the world. The very first of those babies was Alex Palermo, now a …
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In the years since Castle Rock Adventist Hospital opened its doors, the facility's staff has helped bring more than 3,220 babies into the world.
The very first of those babies was Alex Palermo, now a shy but sweet 5-year-old with blond hair and a love of soccer and swimming.
These days Alex is busy preparing to start kindergarten, learning to ride a bike and an all-around energetic kid, his parents said.
On the day he was born, however, Alex's mother, Kathryn, said life was unusually calm for a family staying in a hospital's labor and delivery unit.
When the Palermos approached the department floor at roughly 7 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2013, doctors and nurses cheered for their arrival. Shortly after, the hallways fell quiet while the Palermos settled in as the only family in the unit that morning.
“It was exciting, emotional for all of us,” said Dan Palermo, Alex's father and Kathryn's husband.
Alex, as the first baby born in the Castle Rock hospital, and his family were part of celebrations culminating on Aug. 1, 2018, when the hospital marked its fifth anniversary.
Kathryn is today an acute care nurse and assistant manager at the hospital. Dan is a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Both said the hospital has changed significantly since the day Alex was born and is still shaping the community, including their neighborhood, The Meadows.
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In the past five years, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital tallied up a total of 15,829 admissions, 86,401 emergency room visits and 11,279 surgeries.
“Castle Rock is the fastest-growing hospital within Centura on a percentage basis,” said Jeremy Pittman, the former CFO and COO of Castle Rock Adventist Hospital.
Castle Rock's is one of 17 hospitals run by Centennial-based Centura Health.
The company boasts the largest health-care network in the region, a detail proudly displayed on its website, where its list of hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent cares, clinics and Flight For Life services, all staffed by more than 21,000 professionals, is also found.
The Castle Rock campus started as a stand-alone emergency room in 2011 and expanded to a full hospital in 2013.
Today, it functions as a licensed 55-bed facility, employs 550 people and plans to further its capacity for services with a revamped fourth floor.
Last year its overall growth rate, a figure combining admissions, outpatient visits and physician practices, grew by 15 percent, Pittman said.
Suzanne Parker, director of emergency services, came from Porter Adventist Hospital to help the stand-alone emergency room get up and running in 2011. They anticipated seeing eight patients a day once the facility opened.
Their first day, they got 26.
“That right there tells you how much a hospital was needed in this community,” she said.
Douglas County Library archives show a variety of medical clinics and practices opening in Douglas County throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but the nearest hospitals to Castle Rock didn't open until 2003 with $147 million Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, and later that year when Parker Adventist Hospital also broke ground.
Pittman said land for the hospital in Castle Rock was purchased in 2008 — near the recession and economic downturn — but they counted on Castle Rock's growth rate returning to roughly 4 percent. Today's population exceed 65,000, according to town estimates.
Once the stand-alone emergency room was in operation, “we decided it was feasible to build the hospital,” Pittman said.
The project took two years and they hired most staff six months and 30 days ahead of opening day. Kathryn stood in lines wrapping around the Douglas County Fairgrounds event center during a job fair to score an interview for a position at the new hospital.
Parker estimated they're now admitting roughly 12 to 15 patients to the hospital through the emergency room on a daily basis.
Moving forward, the hospital intends to expand onto its fourth floor. The project has been in talks from the facility's early days, but Pittman said they hope it will be open and operational in the next 18 months.
That could mean a post-surgical unit offering between 24 and 36 more beds.
Kathryn, who landed that nursing job after a couple rounds of interviews, became one of the many nurses preparing to open the hospital in 2013.
She recalled the roller-coaster ride employees rode learning to work as a team, nailing down protocols and ultimately navigating staff turnover.
“It's tough when you've started something with people and then they move on to other things,” she said.
She and Parker say the fourth floor project is exciting news. Their mission is to keep care local, a difficult goal when units are regularly reaching capacity.
Pittman said the hospital knew to expect the town's population growth. They've experienced demand for services across demographics but particularly among the baby boomer generation, and they're planning to continue growing with the needs of the community.
“Castle Rock has really grown,” Kathryn said. “The hospital really had no choice but to grow at the same time.”
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