Healthcare Services: Strength in Numbers

  • 17,370: healthcare and life sciences employees (2013)
  • $57,600: healthcare and life sciences average annual salary (2013)
  • 10.9%: healthcare and life sciences annual growth over the past 5 years, compared to +3.2% in Metro Denver.

Industry-changing health care and life science companies in Denver South are the culmination of a multitude of outstanding attributes. Scientific talent. Unique assets. Leading research. Collectively, all of these draw attention to contribute to the ever-evolving practices and principles within this industry.

The health care and wellness cluster includes a dynamic and growing group of companies that provide preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services offered by health care providers, medical and specialty hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, nutrition and weight loss facilities, fitness centers, medical spas and massage facilities, public health and education, and other health care and wellness organizations. Extending beyond health care delivery, the cluster represents a continuum of businesses ranging from treating disease to a multidimensional and holistic approach that focuses on complete physical and mental health, social well-being, and disease prevention.

The health care and wellness cluster has proven to be resilient to economic cycles and continues to expand its employment base in the Denver South region[1] as a result of several key trends. The expansion of health insurance coverage driven by the Affordable Care Act has caused an influx of people into the health care market. Federal health care reform could insure 500,000 more Coloradans beginning in 2014, further boosting demand for health care procedures. This will also drive further collaboration and cooperation among various health care and wellness facilities across the region for specialized services, research, workforce, and facilities. Another contributing factor is the aging population, which is driving overall health care demand and will generate economic activity based on increased demand for services. Further, the adoption of electronic medical records and software solutions has greatly improved the quality of patient care, the number of patients that can be seen in a timely manner, timely reimbursement for providers, and the ability to share patient records with other providers. Lastly, providers are moving toward integrated health care to increase efficiencies and mitigate risks by establishing continuity of care.

With more than 13,820 health care and wellness workers in approximately 2,000 companies across the Denver South region, the health care and wellness cluster is one of the fastest growing industry clusters in the region and continues to contribute to the region’s overall economic productivity. In fact, employment growth in the Denver South region’s health care and wellness cluster averaged 11.3 percent per year over the past five years, compared with a 3.7 percent and a 1.7 percent increase in the nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region[2] and nationwide, respectively. The Denver South region is an emerging health care and wellness center with support from exceptional health care facilities, a highly skilled workforce, and specialized medical services. Key company announcements in 2013 included:

  • A collaborative effort between two Greenwood Village-based organizations—UnitedHealthcare and the Colorado Hospital Association—yielded $3 million in savings at 19 Colorado hospitals from reduced avoidable hospital readmissions. The initiative, developed in 2011 to help participant facilities reduce hospital readmissions, decreased readmissions more than 40 percent from 14.9 percent to 8.5 percent during the first year of participation. Steps to reduce readmissions included scheduling follow-up tests and doctor’s appointments before the patient left the hospital, confirming medication plans, and making follow-up phone calls with patients.
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado opened its new $100 million South Campus in Highlands Ranch. The South Campus includes an emergency room, diagnostic equipment, various clinics, and inpatient and outpatient facilities. The hospital will consolidate its existing south Metro Denver facilities, including 125 employees, to the South Campus including its Outpatient Specialty Care and Orthopedic Care clinics in Centennial and the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and the Outpatient Specialty and Therapy Care centers in Littleton. In addition, Children’s Hospital Colorado plans to hire 175 new employees.
  • Sky Ridge Medical Center is undergoing an expansion of its existing facilities that is slated for completion in 2014. The $117 million project will add 90 more beds, a women’s center, medical office building, four operating suites, and a parking garage. In 2013, the medical center celebrated 10 years of service.
  • Kaiser Permanente Colorado completed construction of a new 275,000-square-foot, multispecialty center in Lone Tree. Kaiser Permanente plans on expanding its workforce by 130 new employees to staff part of the 300 total employees needed for the new facility. The multispecialty center is the first facility of Kaiser’s future 20-acre integrated health campus.
  • Centura Health will open eight health neighborhoods in Metro Denver, including one in Parker. The health neighborhood concept is a new approach to deliver health care that integrates several components of health including primary care, specialty services, urgent care, diagnostic services, and occupational health. In addition, health coordinators will work with patients to ensure they understand and follow physician recommendations.
  • Greenwood Village-based Recondo Technology Inc. completed the 350th successful integration of its breakthrough cloud computing software with Hospital Information Systems. The company connects providers, payers, and patients using a more efficient and cost-effective system for hospitals to collect payments.

The health care and wellness cluster includes the offices of physicians, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, mental health practitioners, physical and speech therapists, podiatrists, and other health practitioners. The cluster includes hospitals ranging from general medical, surgical, and psychiatric to substance abuse and specialty care, and includes centers focused on family planning, outpatient mental health and substance abuse, kidney dialysis, diagnostic imaging, and emergency care. Companies focused on nursing care, assisted living, and long-term care and businesses that provide services for individuals, families, and the elderly are also included. The cluster includes home health and recreation equipment rental, fitness and recreation facilities, diet and weight reducing services, and massage and yoga services. Companies that manufacture ophthalmic goods, sports and athletic equipment, and outerwear and retailers engaged in vitamins and nutrition supplements are also included. The cluster includes government agencies engaged in the planning, administration, and coordination of public health programs and services. The health care and wellness cluster consists of 53, six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Denver South

Nine-County Region

United States

Direct Employment, 2013




Number of Direct Companies, 2013




One-Year Direct Employment Growth, 2012-2013




Five-Year Direct Employment Growth, 2008-2013




Avg. Annual Direct Employment Growth, 2008-2013




Direct Employment Concentration




Sources: Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. Marketplace database, July-Sept. 2007-2010; Market Analysis Profile, 2011-2013;

Development Research Partners.

  • The health care and wellness cluster directly employed 13,820 people in the Denver South region in 2013.
  • Employment in the region’s health care and wellness cluster increased 70.7 percent between 2008 and 2013, compared with 20.2 percent and 8.6 percent increases in the nine-county region and nationwide, respectively.
  • Nearly 69 percent of the region’s health care and wellness cluster employees worked in offices of physicians and dentists, general medical and surgical hospitals, health and allied services, and physical fitness facilities.
  • Approximately 2,000 health care and wellness companies operated in the Denver South region in 2013.
  • Roughly 85 percent of the region’s health care and wellness companies employed fewer than 10 people, while 0.2 percent employed 250 or more.
  • Almost 94 percent of the region’s health care and wellness companies were located in Arapahoe (48 percent) and Douglas (46 percent) Counties.

Health Care and Wellness Workforce Profile

Many companies choose locations because of the available workforce. With nearly half of the nine-county region’s 3.5 million residents under the age of 35, employers can draw from a large, young, highly educated, and productive workforce. Of the region’s adult population, 40.9 percent are college graduates and 90.3 percent have graduated from high school. Further, the state has the nation’s second-most highly educated workforce as measured by the percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The attractiveness of the region draws new residents through migration. The region’s population is expected to grow 51.1 percent from 2010 to 2040, driving a 36.3 percent increase in the region’s labor force over the same period. It is important to note the changing composition of the workforce supply as the baby boomers begin to retire. This has serious implications for businesses whose employee pool includes significant numbers of these workers.

Health Care & Wellness Workforce | The nine-county region’s healthcare and wellness industry employs 182,320 people and includes a large pool of talented, well-educated, and highly skilled workers. Compared with the age distribution across all industries, the healthcare and wellness cluster has a larger share of employees that are between the ages of 25 and 34 years old and also between the ages of 55 and 64 years old.

The health care and wellness workforce supply consists of four main components: those currently working in the industry; those doing a similar type of job in some other industry; the unemployed; and those currently in the education pipeline. The Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Health care and Wellness Occupation Profile below includes the 10 largest health care and wellness occupations in the region. For these 10 largest occupations, the chart details the total number of workers employed in that occupation across all industries, the number of available applicants that would like to be working in that occupation, and the number of recent graduates that are qualified for that occupation.

Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Health Care and Wellness Occupation Profile

10 Largest Health Care and Wellness Occupations in Metro Denver and Northern Colorado

Total Working Across All Industries (2013)

Number of Available Applicants (2013)

Number of Graduates (2012)

1. Registered nurses




2. Personal care aides




3. Home health aides




4. Nursing assistants




5. Business operations specialists, all other




6. Receptionists & information clerks




7. Medical assistants




8. Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legal, medical, & executive




9. Medical secretaries




10. Clinical, counseling, & school psychologists




Notes: The number of available applicants is a point-in-time measurement of the number of people who have registered in Colorado’s workforce development system’s statewide database, Connecting Colorado, as being able and available to work in a particular occupation. Results should be interpreted with caution since registration in Connecting Colorado is self-reported. In addition, the skills rubric may assign up to four occupation codes for each registrant. Therefore, the number of available applicants could be inflated.

Source: Provided by Arapahoe/Douglas Works!; QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW Employees, Self Employed, & Extended Proprietors – EMSI 2013.3 Class of Worker.

Wages | The 2012 average annual salary for a health care and wellness worker in the nine-county region was $52,540, compared with the national average of $52,200. Total payroll for the health care and wellness cluster in the region exceeded $9.3 billion in 2012. The median, average, and percentile annual salaries for the 10 largest occupations in the health care and wellness cluster are included in the following chart.

Metro Denver and Northern Colorado Health Care and Wellness Salary Profile, 2013

10 Largest Health Care and Wellness Occupations in Metro Denver and Northern Colorado

Median Salary

10th Percentile Salary

25th Percentile Salary

Average Salary

75th Percentile Salary

90th Percentile Salary

1. Registered nurses







2. Personal care aides







3. Home health aides







4. Nursing assistants







5. Business operations specialists, all other







6. Receptionists & information clerks







7. Medical assistants







8. Secretaries & administrative assistants, except legal, medical, & executive







9. Medical secretaries







10. Clinical, counseling, & school psychologists







Source: Provided by Arapahoe/Douglas Works!; QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW Employees, Self Employed, & Extended Proprietors – EMSI 2013.3 Class of Worker.

Education and Training | The higher education system in Colorado provides an excellent support system for businesses in the region. There are 28 public institutions of higher education in Colorado, of which seven four-year and six two-year public institutions offering comprehensive curricula are located in the nine-county region. In addition, there are over 100 private and religious accredited institutions and nearly 340 private occupational and technical schools offering courses in dozens of program areas throughout the state. Although not exhaustive, a list of the major accredited educational institutions with the greatest number of graduates for each of the 10 largest health care and wellness occupations in the region are included below. A directory of all higher education institutions with corresponding web sites may be accessed via

Concorde Career College Aurora
Pima Medical Institute – Denver Campus
Emily Griffith Technical College
Regis University
Front Range Community College
University of Colorado Boulder
Jones International University
University of Colorado Denver
Metropolitan State University of Denver
University of Northern Colorado

Major Health Ccare and Wellness Companies

24 Hour Fitness
Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club
American Medical Response
Catholic Health Initiatives
Kaiser Permanente Colorado
Centura Health
Massage Envy
Children’s Hospital Colorado
SlimGenics, LLC
Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc.
Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers
DaVita Inc.

The region is a top health care and wellness location offering:

1.     A robust culture of health and wellness

  • Colorado is the leanest state with the nation’s lowest rate of adult obesity (20.5 percent) and is the only state with an obesity rate below 21 percent. (Trust for America’s Health, 2013; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2013)
  • Colorado ranked as the eighth-healthiest state in the nation, according to the 2013 edition of America’s Health Rankings, which are produced by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention. Criteria for the ranking included 30 measures of health determinants and outcomes ranging from prevalence of smoking and obesity to air pollution and chronic disease. Colorado ranked most favorably for low prevalence of obesity, the third-lowest rate of physical inactivity, and the sixth-lowest rate of diabetes. The state also scored near the top of the rankings for its levels of air pollution (sixth-lowest) and the number of preventable hospitalizations (fifth-lowest). (United Health Foundation, 2013)
  • Metro Denver is the nation’s fifth-fittest metro area, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2013American Fitness Index. The index rated the nation’s 50 largest metro areas on factors including preventative health measures, chronic disease levels, access to health care, and community resources and policies that support physical activity. Denver’s highest scores were in health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and health care access. (American College of Sports Medicine, 2013)
  • National forests occupy nearly 22 percent of Colorado’s state land area, the third-highest percentage among the 50 states. Colorado’s 55 national and state parks, substantial wilderness and recreation areas, and the greatest number of 14,000-foot mountain peaks in the nation are vital components to the state’s quality of life and offer some of the highest quality outdoor opportunities. (U.S. Forest Service, 2013; Colorado State Parks, 2013)
  • Denver ranked among the 10 best cities in the United States for urban forests in 2013, according to American Forests. Urban forests are ecosystems of trees and other vegetation in the community and vegetation within parks and along public rights of way and water systems. The City and County of Denver estimated that $18 million in net income can be attributed to tourism of its park system, which has increased health benefits, lowered medical costs, and improved physical activity of its citizens. (American Forests, 2013)
  • Seven state and national parks are located within the South Metro Corridor and more than 34,000 acres of parks are located in nearby mountains. The South Metro Corridor has permanently preserved over 50,000 acres of natural open space with significant trail systems and nearby recreational access. (Denver South Economic Development Partnership)
  • Nearly 30 public and private golf courses are located in the South Metro Corridor and world-class ski resorts are located within 100 miles of the Corridor. (Denver South Economic Development Partnership)
  • Boulder and Fort Collins ranked among the top 10 metropolitan areas for residents’ overall health and well-being, according to the 2012 Gallup Healthways “Well-Being Index.â€? The survey-based index measured the physical and emotional health of the residents in nearly 190 metropolitan statistical areas. Metro Denver ranked 15th, Greeley ranked 38th, and the indices’ statewide component ranked Colorado second for its residents’ overall well-being. (Gallup-Healthways, 2013)
  • Douglas County ranked as the second-healthiest county in Colorado for the second consecutive year, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Researchers ranked all U.S. counties within their respective states based on a combination of health outcomes and health factors. (University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 2013)
  • Colorado had the thinnest and most active adults in the nation, according to the Colorado Health Foundation’s 2012Colorado Health Report Card. The state also ranked second-lowest for the prevalence of hypertension among working-age adults and diabetes. The report examined 38 indicators in five life stages and assigned a letter grade to each to show how Coloradans fare at every age. (The Colorado Health Foundation, 2013)
  • Colorado scored among the top 15 in the nation on five of the six healthy aging indicators in the Colorado Health Foundation’s 2012 Colorado Health Report Card. Colorado’s older adults had the highest rate of physical activity of any state, ranked fifth for immunization rates, and were less likely to report poor physical health than seniors in all but four other states. This is important since the fastest-growing age group in Colorado over the next 20 years will be ages 65 and older. (Colorado Health Foundation, 2013; Colorado State Demography Office, 2013)
  • Colorado ranked as the eighth-healthiest state for adults ages 65 years and older, according to the inaugural United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report in 2013. The report assessed state-level performance on 34 different elements, including both health determinants and health outcomes. Colorado’s seniors have a low prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity, low premature death rate, and a low percent of hospital deaths. (United Health Foundation, 2013)
  • Denver is among the top 10 eye-healthy cities, according to VSP Vision Care’s “2013 Eye Health City Index.â€? Contributors evaluated how frequently residents in more than 100 U.S. cities had their eyes examined in 2012 and who had VSP Vision Care benefits. (VSP Vision Care, 2013)
  • Colorado is at the forefront of the organic industry, which includes nearly 270 certified farms and ranches with more organic certified acres than any other state. The state’s organically-certified companies sell more than $560 million in organic products, resulting in more than 920 organic food production and marketing jobs. (Colorado Department of Agriculture, 2013)
  • Colorado ranked among the top 10 in the nation for the highest median fruit and vegetable consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2013. Colorado residents consumed an average of 1.1 servings of fruit per day and 1.7 servings of vegetables, higher than the national average. Colorado residents also have improved access to fruits and vegetables: 69.9 percent of the state’s residents have a healthy food retailer within a half mile of their homes, compared with 69.5 percent nationally. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013)
  • Colorado ranked 14th in the nation for funds received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant program and received nearly $153 million in 2012, averaging $29.49 per capita. More HRSA funding indicates improved access to health care services for the uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. (Trust for America’s Health, 2013)
  • Health and fitness website named Denver to its 2013 list of the “20 Best Cities for 20-Somethings.â€? Contributors ranked cities on health and wellness, transit, cleanliness, cultural diversity, sustainability, and affordability. Denver received accolades for its healthy and active population, and cultural diversity. (, 2013)


2.     The ability to recruit and retain a healthy, skilled, and productive workforce

  • Healthy employees are more productive, have less absenteeism, and cost an average of $4,000 less each year in health care costs than unhealthy employees. (University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, 2013)
  • Of Colorado’s adult population, more than 37 percent has completed a bachelor’s or higher-level degree, making Colorado the second-most highly educated state in the nation behind Massachusetts. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey)
  • Colorado ranked 10th in the number of science and engineering graduate students per 1,000 individuals ages 25 to 34 years old in 2009. Universities such as Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Colorado State University (CSU) all offer competitive science and engineering doctorate programs and research facilities. (National Science Foundation, 2012)
  • NerdWallet found that two of the 10 best places in Colorado for job seekers was in Denver South—Centennial and Parker. The study looked at the cost of living, the unemployment rate, and the growth in the number of working-age people in each city. (NerdWallet, 2013)
  • Forbes ranked the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA ninth among “The Best Big Cities for Jobs 2013.â€? The ranking considered 66 metro areas with more than 450,000 jobs and examined factors such as growth trends, economic momentum, and employment data. (Forbes, 2013)
  • Denver ranked as the third-best city for college graduates, according to NerdWallet. Rankings were based on criteria including cost of living, demographics, and social scene. Denver received accolades for its low cost of living, moderate unemployment rate, and easy access to the mountains and nature. (NerdWallet, 2013)
  • Forbes named Denver to its list of 15 U.S. cities with emerging downtowns in 2013. The list identified cities that have a young, educated workforce that businesses look for when relocating or expanding. Denver’s strengths included Lower Downtown—a model for revitalization and public-private partnership—and faster-than-average population, job, and economic growth. (Forbes, 2013)
  • The Colorado Rural Health Center’s Colorado Provider Recruitment program offers three loan repayment programs to help with the recruitment and retention of eligible health professionals, particularly in rural and underserved urban areas of the state. The National Health Service Corps is a federal loan repayment program, offering up to $60,000 for a full-time, two-year service commitment; the Colorado Health Service Corps is a state, federal, and private partnership and repays up to $105,000 for a full-time, three-year service commitment; and the Colorado Rural Outreach Program offers up to $20,000 in matching funds to rural communities for a one-year service commitment to help meet the shortage of health professionals in the state. (Colorado Rural Health Center, 2013)


3.     The convergence of health-related education, research, and application

  • Rocky Vista University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) in Parker is one of only two medical schools in Colorado. Founded in 2006, RVUCOM has among the highest board scores of any osteopathic medical school in the nation and a 100 percent match rate including some of the nation’s top residency programs. Located on a 20-acre campus, RVUCOM houses the latest classroom, lecture, and laboratory equipment, with additional instruction conducted at numerous teaching hospitals throughout the state. RVUCOM is accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and is a candidate with the Higher Learning Commission. (Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2013)
  • U.S. News & World Report’s ‘2014 “Best Medical Schoolsâ€? report ranked the University of Colorado School of Medicine fifth nationally for primary care and 35th among research-oriented programs. Additional ranked specialties and programs within the School of Medicine included family medicine (third), pediatrics (fifth), and rural medicine (eighth), while the physician assistant program ranked 11th, pharmacology ranked 24th, and physical therapy ranked 34th. (U.S. News & World Report, 2013)
  • Regis University’s Loretto Heights School of Nursing and the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing ranked among the nation’s top 75 online graduate nursing programs, according to U.S. News & World Report‘s 2013 “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.â€? To compile the ranking, contributors evaluated faculty credentials and training, graduate rates, academic and career support services offered to students, and admissions selectivity. (U.S. News & World Report, 2013)
  • The University of Colorado’s School of Medicine graduates about 150 medical students per year and offers programs in dental medicine, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Other professionals, including dieticians, dental hygienists, physician assistants, and physical therapists also train at the Fitzsimons campus. (University of Colorado, 2013)
  • The University of Colorado Denver and Red Rocks Community College are Metro Denver’s only institutions with accredited entry-level physician assistant (PA) programs. The PA program at the University of Colorado Denver is the only program nationally to offer expanded training in pediatrics and offers unique program tracks in a variety of disciplines. Red Rock’s program is also affiliated with Regis University, which awards a master’s degree in clinical leadership. (Colorado Health Institute, 2013)
  • The College of Nursing at the University of Colorado was the birthplace of the first nurse practitioner program in the world and is nationally recognized for its programs dedicated to preparing quality nurses. The College of Nursing offers eight master’s degree nurse practitioner specialties ranging from nurse midwifery and pediatric to adult clinical and women’s health care. The College’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specialty program ranked among the top five in the nation and the Family Nurse Practitioner program ranked among the top 20, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Report nursing program rankings. (University of Colorado, 2013; U.S. News & World Report, 2013)
  • The Organic Business Initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Deming Center for Entrepreneurship provides students with unprecedented access to the Boulder area’s organic industry including business leaders from companies as renowned as Alfalfa’s Market, Aurora Organic Dairy, the Ercus Group, Celestial Seasonings, Rudi’s, Sterling-Rice Group, and WhiteWave. Each year, students engage in internships, company projects, classes, clubs, and professional events in the organics industry. (The University of Colorado, 2013)
  • The Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH)—collaboratively formed by the University of Colorado, CSU, and the University of Northern Colorado—is the first and only school of public health in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2013, CSPH launched the Center for Worker Health and Environment which aims at building partnerships with Colorado small business to improve overall health and wellness for employees and families. (The Colorado School of Public Health, 2013)
  • The University of Colorado ranked among the nation’s top institutions in total National Institutes of Health funding totaling $162.4 million in fiscal year 2012. The University of Colorado School of Pharmacy ranked fifth out of 75 academic pharmacy schools, the School of Medicine ranked 26th out of 133 academic medical schools, and the School of Dentistry ranked 21st out of 46 academic dental schools. (National Institutes of Health, 2013)
  • The University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center) was established in 1988 and is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Rocky Mountain region. Patients diagnosed and treated at CU Cancer Center have higher 5-year survival rates for many cancer types that outpace state and national averages. The CU Cancer Center has one of the world’s best lung cancer and treatment programs and is one of eight LIVESTRONG Cancer Survivorship Centers of Excellence. (The University of Colorado Cancer Center, 2013)


4.     A regional health care hub, with expanding medical and wellness tourism opportunities

  • Denver South’s Centura Health in Littleton, was named to HealthGrades’ 2013 list of “Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence.â€? Hospitals were evaluated using 2009-2011 Medicare data on 27 different clinical measures, and the top 5 percent were recognized on the list. (HealthGrades, Inc., 2013)
  • HealthGrades awarded several honors to hospitals in the nine-county region in 2013. Exempla Lutheran Medical Center (Wheat Ridge), Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital (Denver), Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center (Lafayette), Centura Health-Littleton Adventist Hospital (Littleton), Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland), McKee Medical Center (Loveland), and North Colorado Medical Center (Greeley) earned HealthGrades’ 2013 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. North Colorado Medical Center also ranked among “America’s 100 Best Hospitalsâ€? in 2013, three of the region’s hospitals received awards for Women’s Health Excellence, and eight hospitals won awards for Outstanding Patient Experience. (HealthGrades, Inc., 2013)
  • Two Denver South hospitals received high scores in hospital safety in The Leapfrog Group’s 2013 survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals. Sky Ridge Medical Center received an “Aâ€? grade, while Centura Parker Adventist Hospital received a “Bâ€? grade. The Hospital Safety Score assigns a letter grade to hospitals based on 26 measures of patient safety, including medical errors and infection rates. (The Leapfrog Group, 2013)
  • Truven Health Analytics named Rose Medical Center one of the “100 Top Hospitalsâ€? nationwide in 2013, the only Colorado hospital to achieve a top-100 ranking. The list is based on an analysis of patient care, operational efficiency, financial stability, and other criteria. (Truven Health Analytics, 2013)
  • Poudre Valley Hospital ranked as the most affordable hospital in Colorado for 16 medical treatments, according to NerdWallet Health. Contributors analyzed 100 common treatments at 45 Colorado hospitals, studying which offered the highest number of affordable treatments using 2011 Medicare patient data. The hospital also ranked second highest in patient satisfaction scores. (NerdWallet Health, 2013)
  • The University of Colorado Hospital’s Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit and the Medical Center of the Rockies Surgical Intensive Care Unit are Gold Beacon Award recipients. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses awards the Golden Beacon Award for Excellence to hospital units that demonstrate excellence in patient outcomes and sustained unit performance. (The American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2013)
  • School-based health centers (SBHCs) are an essential component of Metro Denver’s health care system and play an important role in the health and wellness of the region’s children. Each of Metro Denver’s 31 SBHCs offer accessible, affordable, and high-quality physical, behavioral, and oral health care services to underserved students across the region. In 2009, the Colorado Health Foundation launched a $10.8 million, four-year initiative to support school-based health care in communities throughout the state and will support the implementation of more than 20 new SBHCs serving an additional 15,000 students each year. (The Colorado Health Foundation, 2013; Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care, 2013)
  • Craig Hospital in Denver is a world-renowned center for specialty rehabilitation and research for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Craig is a national center of excellence and has treated nearly 30,000 patients with SCI—more than any other single center in the world—and TBI since 1956. Half of Craig’s patients come from outside of Colorado and Craig has treated patients from all 50 states and several countries in the past five years. Craig also has one of the largest ventilator-dependent and weaning programs in the country. (Craig Hospital, 2013)
  • The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes is one of the largest diabetes programs specializing in Type 1 diabetes research and care for children and adults in the world. The Center provides state-of-the-art clinical diabetes care to 3,600 children and 2,400 adults with diabetes within the Rocky Mountain region, as well as receiving national and international referrals. (The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, 2013)
  • University of Colorado Health (UCHealth)—a partnership between Poudre Valley Health System and UCH—provides unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West, attracts significant research funding, and improves patient health through innovation. UCHealth has received several awards and designations including three Magnet designations by the American Nursing Credentialing Center three consecutive times that has been accomplished by only 31 hospitals worldwide, multiple Nightingale Awards for excellence in nursing care, and significant involvement in implementing Institute for Health care Improvement, patient safety, and clinical quality initiatives. (University of Colorado Health, 2013)
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado received numerous rankings as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranked Children’s Hospital Colorado as the seventh-best children’s hospital in the nation in 2013. Six of its specialty areas also placed in the top 10 in their respective categories: pulmonology (fifth), gastroenterology/GI surgery (fifth), diabetes and endocrinology (eighth), cancer (ninth), neonatology (ninth), and orthopedics (ninth). Children’s Hospital Colorado was also named to the U.S. News’ Honor Roll, which included only nine other children’s hospitals. Parents magazine ranked Children’s Hospital Colorado fifth on its “10 Best Children’s Hospitals in Americaâ€? list. (U.S. News & World Report, 2013; Parents, 2013)
  • U.S. News & World Report‘s 2013-2014 “Best Hospitalsâ€? named Sky Ridge Medical Center to its top-ranked health care facilities list. Sky Ridge Medical Center scored high in patient safety and ranked the facility in four other high-performing specialties: gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, orthopedics, and urology. The facility tied Denver Health Medical Center and Rose Medical Center of Denver as the eighth-best hospitals in Metro Denver. (U.S. News & World Report, 2013)
  • HCA-HealthONE’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children is a regionally renowned center providing pediatric diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, and research for high-risk births, neonates, infants, children, and teens. The hospital houses the region’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and the largest high-risk obstetrical program. Further, the hospital has performed the largest number of minimally invasive procedures of neonates and infants, the largest number of children’s thoracoscopic lung resections, and the most laparoscopic anti-reflux procedures in the world. (Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, 2013)
  • Condé Nast Traveler magazine named five Metro Denver hotel spas to its 2013 “Top 75 U.S. Hotel Spasâ€? list. The JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek ranked 20th, followed by the Four Seasons Hotel Denver (33rd), the Oxford Hotel (41st), the St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder (62nd), and the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa (64th). Contributors determine the awards based on an annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey. Eight other resorts throughout Colorado were named to the magazine’s “Top 100 U.S. Resort Spasâ€? list. (Condé Nast Traveler, 2013)


5.     An overall better quality of life

  • MONEY Magazine ranked Parker among the top 15 “Best Places to Liveâ€? in 2013. The annual ranking highlights cities and towns that offer affordability, job growth, strong education and health systems, diversity, and economic strength. The city’s well-regarded cultural centers, proximity to Denver, and affordable housing contributed to its high ranking. (MONEY Magazine, 2013)
  • NerdWallet named Highlands Ranch and Parker among the top 10 “Best Towns in Colorado for Young Families.â€? The rankings considered the quality of public schools in towns, affordability, and whether the population and household incomes in the town were growing. (NerdWallet, 2013)
  • Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked Highlands Ranch as Colorado’s “Top Booming Suburb.â€? The rankings identified suburbs that showed strong economic growth since the recovery, and had a population that was finding jobs at a better rate than the national average. (Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 2013)
  • The cost of living in Metro Denver is only 3 percent above the national average and is well below that of many other major cities. (The Council for Community and Economic Research, Cost of Living Index, Q3 2013)
  • Metro Denver’s fourth quarter 2013 median home price of $279,300 was significantly less than comparable communities on the east and west coasts, but is higher than the national median price of $196,900. Metro Denver ranked 20th among 165 metro areas for median single-family home price in the fourth quarter of 2013. (National Association of Realtors, Q4 2013)
  • FasTracks—a comprehensive plan to buildout Metro Denver’s entire mass transit system by 2019—is the largest simultaneous transit buildout in U.S. history. Approved by voters in 2004, FasTracks will vastly improve mobility for current and future residents and will make Metro Denver one of the top regions in the country in terms of miles of fixed rail.
  • Metro Denver ranked third-sunniest among 20 major U.S. cities with sunshine on almost 70 percent of the days each year. (U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center, 2013)


Provided by:

Denver South Economic Development Partnership
304 Inverness Way South, Suite 315
Englewood, CO  80112


Prepared by:

Development Research Partners, Inc.
10184 West Belleview Ave, Ste 100
Littleton, Colorado 80127
March 2014


[1] The Denver South region consists of zip codes 80111, 80112, 80124, 80126, 80129, 80130, 80134, and 80237.

[2] The nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region consists of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld Counties.