Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital Announce New Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital are proud to announce Christina Salas, LSW, as market chief executive officer and Amy Hansen, PT, DPT, as chief operating officer.

Christina Salas has been promoted to market chief executive officer

Salas, who has been an integral part of the hospitals’ marketing and business development team for the past 10 years, is excited to take on the market CEO position. In her new role, Salas will be responsible for the operational and strategic leadership of the campus, which includes a critical care hospital, an inpatient medical rehabilitation hospital, and an outpatient therapy clinic.

“My passion for healthcare comes from genuine care and concern for every patient and family we have the opportunity to meet,” said Salas. “As a social worker, caring for a patient’s overall well-being while they travel an often challenging journey to recovery is of utmost importance to me. Having the opportunity to lead an entire hospital team in providing exceptional care will be considered one of my proudest accomplishments.”

Like Salas, Hansen also brings tenure with the hospitals and extensive experience in numerous healthcare settings to her new role. A physical therapist by background, Hansen most recently served as Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital’s director of therapy operations.

Salas and Hansen avidly celebrate the hospitals’ mission of serving patients from throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska with the highest-quality, most compassionate care possible.

Amy Hansen, formerly the director of therapy operations at NCRH, has been promoted to chief operating officer

“Leading our outstanding therapy department has allowed me to share my determination not only with the team but with all the patients we care for,” shared Hansen. “Moving into the COO role, I have an even greater opportunity to share my passion for best practices and to support and encourage our team, patients, families, and community. Being a part of such a knowledgeable and caring team inspires me daily to cultivate the best environment possible for recovery.”

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital are part of Ernest Health’s nationwide network of specialty hospitals. Located in Johnstown, the hospitals provide highly specialized care for individuals who’ve suffered debilitating injuries, illnesses, and chronic medical conditions. Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital has been awarded Stroke Rehabilitation Certification and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Certification from The Joint Commission; Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital has received Respiratory Failure Certification from the Joint Commission.

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Welcomes New CEO

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital (NCLTAH) is proud to welcome Blake Sims, MSHA, MBA, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Blake is an experienced operations leader with a proven track record of success.

Prior to joining NCLTAH, Blake worked for large complex healthcare organizations in Texas and Nevada. During that time, he developed expertise in operational management, productivity and process improvement projects, infection prevention, capital construction project management and strategic planning.

“I am honored to join this team of highly trained clinicians providing the most compassionate care to patients, who are often dealing with incredibly complex medical issues. Their passion for quality care is astounding,” said Blake.

“This hospital was the first in Colorado to receive recognition for the care of patients in respiratory failure. The passion of the caregivers for being the best at what they do is not only a driving force in our community, but throughout the state. I’m so lucky to be able to support this amazing team.”

Blake earned a master’s in health administration and a master’s in business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While at UAB, he also completed certificates in health care finance and gerontology. Blake is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Colorado Association of Healthcare Executives and Upsilon Phi Delta National Academic Honor Society. An active community member, Sims has served on a number of boards and is an alumnus of Leadership Amarillo & Canyon (Texas).

Blake and his wife, Melanie, have three young children. He loves the outdoors, especially running and all forms of cycling. Blake has finished thirteen Ironman triathlons, including Ironman Boulder on two occasions.

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital Welcomes Hospitalist

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is proud to welcome Dr. Sami Mitri as its new Hospitalist.

Dr. Sami Mitri has joined Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital

Dr. Mitri is a board-certified internal medicine physician.

Dr. Mitri completed a residency at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital in Lansing, Michigan where he also had a private practice.  He earned his medical degree from Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Parker, Colorado. Dr. Mitri also received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Michigan along with his Master of Science in Biology.  He is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

Not only a dedicated and experienced physician, Dr. Mitri also has a passion for teaching and lecturing at colleges and universities.  He is passionate about delivering the highest quality and compassionate care to our hospitalized patients.

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Employee Health Elevated

Local Hospital Elevates Health of Employees
to Same Level as Patients

With holidays around the corner, this usually means stress and bountiful delicious treats. Local hospital offers convenient yoga classes for their employees and their families free of charge.

Mandie Schake is an occupational therapist at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. After extensive training she has received her certification to instruct yoga. She wanted to give back to her co-workers that, like her, give so much of themselves to their job of caring for others. Schake said, “As health care providers we tend to put our bodies at risk for injury when working with patients, and the mental/emotional strain is significant in our respective fields.”

Lamar McBride, CEO of Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital and Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital wanted to support his passionate patient caregivers. “All our staff gives physically, mentally and emotionally to their positions.” He wanted to provide bimonthly classes to his staff free of charge. “I want to provide for our employees because it is important to provide an outlet for self-care It is my way to say ‘thank you’ for the care provided to our patients and each other. Every position in our hospital is demanding. It is important for our overall health and well-being to control the effects of stress and take time for ourselves.”

Yoga provides a path that allows you to care for your body, mind, and heart as a whole; be more aware of your body and how you use it in your daily life; while potentially giving you strategies to deal with life’s challenges off of your yoga mat via decreased stress levels. Schake has a different focus each month to provide many resources to the staff.

Deb Campbell, Director of Therapy Services at Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital and Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is participating in the classes after not having done yoga in numerous years. When asked if it was intimidating, Campbell replied, “It can seem intimidating at first, but once you are in the class you realize it is not at all. The instructor adapts the movements to everyone’s level.” She boasts the convenience of the classes being held at lunch or after work in the hospital as, “Having it at work is incredibly convenient. I don’t have to plan extra time into my day.” Campbell reports having a clearer mind and has increased energy.

Schake hopes to open classes to the public in the future, but is focusing on providing for her peers through the end of this year. She encourages all experiences levels and body types to attend and explore the benefits of body, mind and spirit.

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Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital First in State to Earn National Certification

Bringing nationally recognized healthcare to the local community

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is the first hospital in Colorado to earn The Joint Commission’s disease-specific certification in respiratory failure.

Certification is voluntary and given after a rigorous on-site review of the hospital’s practices, programs, and outcomes in treating patients with respiratory failure. It is available only to acute care hospitals that are accredited by The Joint Commission.

“This certification is significant because it means that we’re providing the highest level of respiratory failure services available in the nation right here to our own community,” says Lamar McBride, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Being that we’re the only long-term acute care hospital in the region , we take this responsibility seriously to ensure that our area is offered this higher level of care.”

Respiratory failure occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen passing from the lungs into the body’s bloodstream.

“Oxygen-rich blood is needed to help the body’s organs – such as the heart and brain – function properly,” explains Dr. Gary Pearson, Medical Director of Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital. “Respiratory failure also can occur if a patient’s lungs can’t remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Carbon dioxide is a waste gas that also can harm a body’s organs.”

Different types of diseases can cause respiratory failure, including lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, or cystic fibrosis. Respiratory failure also can be caused by conditions that affect the nerves and muscles that control breathing such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, and muscular dystrophy.

“To get the best possible results for our patients, we use best practices and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines,” Pearson says. “These include prolonged mechanical ventilation, mechanical ventilation weaning, patient nutrition, and patient positioning”

At the hospital, a long-term acute care team tailors medical services to the complex needs of each patient, creating a personalized plan of care that is guided by the patient’s attending physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, case managers, dietitians, and other medical professionals. All patients receive 24-hour nursing and respiratory care services, and daily physician management. Patients have access to all private rooms, including a 4-bed high-observation unit. Every room is monitored and includes any specialty equipment needed such as ventilators and cardiac monitoring equipment.

“Respiratory failure can be a serious and life-threatening,” McBride says. “It’s an extremely stressful time for patients and their family members. That’s why we’ve gone the extra step to earn The Joint Commission’s certification to provide better outcomes for our patients. We want to offer hope and quality of life to members of our community who experience this debilitating event.”

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New Hospitalist Joins Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital

Dr. Enrico Versace has joined Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital as a hospitalist. Board-certified in internal medicine, Versace brings more than 20 years of experience to his role, which will include treating medically complex patients in the hospital with pulmonary, cardiovascular, infectious disease, and neurological issues. Versace’s vast experience includes wound care and hyperbaric medicine, which he has a special interest in.

Prior to joining the hospital, Versace worked at a critical access hospital in Del Norte, Colo. He also practiced at a long-term acute care hospital in Billings, Mont, where he served as medical director for two years. He earned his medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and completed an internal medicine residency at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Conn.

Currently, Versace is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians.

Northern Colorado Long Term Acute Hospital is a 20-bed, free-standing facility that provides long-term acute care and critical care services to patients recovering from serious injuries or illnesses in Johnstown, Colo., and surrounding areas.

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