Then and Now

Doc Willett Steamboat

Many community-spirited individuals have helped shape the history of hospital care in Steamboat Springs. None was more influential than Frederick E. Willett, MD. Dr. Willett became involved with the town’s first public hospital in 1914. The building that housed the hospital from 1915-1921 (pictured left on book cover), with Dr. Willett standing in front, is now known as the Old Town Pub.

1921 – Dr. Willett opened a new hospital in a converted apartment building on 7th and Aspen streets. Twenty-five years later, Dr. Willett and the community saw the need for a new structure and a non-profit community organization to run it.

1946 – The Steamboat Springs Hospital Association elected a Board of Directors that selected a site on Park Avenue for the new hospital. Dr. Willett donated his hospital building to the cause, and it was purchased by the school district. The building served as the high school and junior high band room as well as the Seventh Street Playhouse before being torn down in 2005.

After several years of design, construction and fundraising, Routt County Memorial Hospital was dedicated on August 13, 1950. Our Hospital Auxiliary was formed during that decade to help the hospital through some financially difficult years.

The 1960s saw the opening of the Steamboat Ski Area and a corresponding need to increase hospital services. A remodeling added outpatient treatment space in the early 1970s. The sign above the new entrance read: “Ski Injuries Only.”

The region’s first orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Ronald G. Lewis, joined the medical staff in 1972. This decade brought rapid changes, construction of a major addition and enhanced emergency medical services. The hospital was renamed Routt Memorial to clarify its private, non-tax-supported status. In 1979, the community asked the hospital to take over the adjacent nursing home, which was renamed Routt Memorial Extended Care Center.

GrandKids Child Care Center opened in November 1981, bringing generations closer together and providing a needed community service. It was the first child care center to be located inside a skilled nursing facility in the state of Colorado, and its intergenerational program still serves as a national role model.

1992 – The need for a larger hospital was obvious. Planning and fundraising began for a new medical center and campus on a centrally located 46-acre site near the Steamboat Ski Area. A generous community donated more than $6 million.Yampa Valley Medical Center

Groundbreaking for Yampa Valley Medical Center was held in February 1998, and the hospital opened on November 21, 1999. Other campus buildings, including a medical office building, the Doak Walker Care Center and GrandKids, were completed in 2000.

2001 – The Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation was established and is a non-profit organization that supports the programs and services of YVMC. The mission of the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation is to support the healthcare services of Yampa Valley Medical Center for the communities it serves

2009 – YVMC celebrated several milestones — 30 years of providing long-term care, 20 years for SportsMed rehab and therapy services, and “Cheers to 10 Years” for YVMC’s presence at the Central Park Drive location. During our first decade on this campus, we have added or enhanced numerous services such as YampaWorks Occupational HealthJoint Replacement Program, Pulmonary Rehab and cardiology diagnostics.

A $13 million expansion, completed in February 2010, doubled the size of our Family Birth Place, created a new Digital Mammography Suite and Minor Procedure Area, and added much-needed space to Surgical Services and other departments.

2013 – YVMC bid a heartfelt farewell to the Doak Walker Care Center, which relocated to the new Casey’s Pond senior living campus, where it has been renamed the Doak Walker House. We maintain an inter-generational connection with regular visits from GrandKids children.

2014 – The newest addition to services was the Gloria Gossard Breast Health Center. Through a generous donation this state-of-the-art facility provides comprehensive breast health care.   We also celebrated 100 years of healthcare in the Yampa Valley with the first Doc Willett’s presents Diamonds & Denim Gala, raising funds for a new cancer center.

2015 – Phase 1 of renovation began on the YVMC campus with the Outpatient Pavilion and relocation of YampaCare for Women.  The new facility opened in February 1, 2016 with the expansion of exam rooms and state of the art technology.  The Diamonds & Denim 2015 Gala raised exceeded expectations of raising $250,000 towards the new cancer center.  It was announced at the gala the naming of the cancer center in memory of Jan Bishop in recognition of a gift from Joe Bishop.
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2016 – In November, The Gloria Gossard Breast Health Center relocated its facility to the Outpatient Pavilion. The center has the latest state of the art equipment including digital mammography, high resolution ultrasound and breast MRI.

2017 – YVMC welcomed the addition of the new Jan Bishop Cancer Center.    A beautiful state of the art cancer facility serving patients and the families in the Yampa Valley and beyond.   Because of continued support and generous donations, The Foundation raised over $3.7 million towards the building of the Jan Bishop Cancer Center.  We are grateful to Joe Bishop and his family for helping make our dream of an excellent cancer care center in our community a reality.