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Adams, Boulder Seeing Share of Health Care Job Growth

April 02, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008 Adams, Boulder seeing share of health care job growth Denver Business Journal - by Bob Mook Denver Business Journal Kathleen Lavine | Business Journal The Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton, which opened last year, employs about 700 people. View Larger Four Colorado counties rank among the top 30 in the country in terms of job growth in the health care sector, according to Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI), an economic data and consulting firm based in Moscow, Idaho. A recent industry report from EMSI shows that Larimer, Boulder, Pueblo and Adams counties were listed in the top 30. All four counties expect growth in the health care sector to grow between 41 percent and 48 percent from 2006 to 2016. Adams County's projected growth is largely due to the advent of the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora -- a project that's estimated to cost $1.5 billion, with 3.4 million square feet of education, patient care and research space. Campus tenants include the University of Colorado Hospital. Site neighbors include The Children's Hospital's new location and University Physicians Inc. According to EMSI, health care and social assistance jobs in Adams County will grow to a total of 19,601 in 2016 from 13,925, an increase of 41 percent. A spokesman for EMSI said the company counts doctors, nurses and services for the elderly in its calculations, but not researchers. Jay Gershen, vice chancellor for external affairs for the University of Colorado Denver, including the downtown campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus, said when the campus' research park is completed, there will be 32,000 people on the site, including about 2,900 students. By contrast, the state's fledgling renewable energy sector employs about 66,000 people, Gershen said. The new Veterans Hospital, scheduled for completion in 2012, will bring an additional 3,000 jobs to the site, Gershen said. Also in Adams County, the Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton employs about 700 people and expects to grow more because of the "surprising popularity" of the new facility, said Jim Hertel, the hospital's chairman of the board. Open since last year, the 300,000-square-foot, $138 million center is adjacent to a 2,000-acre, mixed-use Prairie Center project located along the west side of I-76 between Bromley Lane and 128th Avenue. Bill Becker, president of the Adams County Economic Development Corp., said he considered growth in the health care sector "a very important component of our communities." Becker cites an expansion of Saint Anthony's North Hospital in Westminster and outreach clinics as other drivers in Adams County's health care boom. But while Adams County ranked highly in the report, Larimer County, which encompasses Loveland and Fort Collins in Northern Colorado, expects the most health care job growth in the state, the report said. The county ranked No. 11 in the nation in terms of health care job growth. It expects to add 7,823 health care jobs by 2012, for a total of 24,339 -- a 48 percent increase from 2006. Maury Dobbie, president and CEO of the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., said EMSI's findings are consistent with a study from a regional economist that showed the health care industry buoyed the region when the technology sector hit a downturn in 2003. Recently, Medical Center of the Rockies and McKee Medical Center -- both in Loveland -- brought thousands of new jobs to the area because of expansions and new facilities. Dobbie added because Northern Colorado has been identified as a good retirement destination, the health care sector is expected to grow stronger. Boulder and Pueblo counties also were featured prominently in the report. Becker speculated that Boulder's growth may be spurred by the relatively recent opening of Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.