Swedish Medical Center
February 23, 2018

Hospital’s CEO offers positive prognosis to business leaders


The world of hospital care has changed considerably since Englewood’s Swedish Medical Center, founded by the Swedish Women of Chicago, set up its first camps as a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1905.

“We grew up from a tent on this property to a 408-bed regional referral center serving five states,” said Richard Hammett, who has acted as president and CEO in more recent years of this hospital’s 21st century. “… As a vision-driven organization, the complexity of what we do has evolved a lot, but the vision is very much the same … the care and improvement of human life.”

Hammett relayed much of Swedish’s vision and its practical application last week at the hospital during a breakfast meeting of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce.

Today, with its host of specialties and state-of-the-art innovation, Swedish is a leader in everything from stroke treatment to neo-natal intensive care.

“It’s not just a community hospital,” Hammett told business leaders. “We’re a regional referral center, so to speak, for a lot of the hospitals that are needing more complex care than they can provide.”

According to the CEO, more than 20 percent of Swedish’s patients come from outside the metro area, not just from Colorado, but from half a dozen surrounding states.

Today, Swedish boasts a Level 1 trauma center, three emergency departments, a regional burn center and a comprehensive stroke center with the highest designation.

“Our stroke program is like a NASCAR race,” Hammett said. “Our team is very proud of the orchestra of movement and decision making … to make sure lifesaving care can be rendered as fast as possible.”

Ray Bruce, a chamber board member, shared his own recent story from the stroke unit.

“By the time they got me in a wheelchair and into the examination room, there were five staff members already in that room,” he said. “There was an amazing level of care and awareness of not only my needs, but also my family needs. … From a patient-care standpoint, it was really an exceptional experience.”

In addition to patient services, Swedish hosts surgical-training and neurology residency programs. More than 100 research trials are going on at any given time.

Other highlights for Swedish include a low risk-adjusted patient mortality rate and a below-average time to remove blood clots in the stroke unit.

More parking and private rooms are two of the major items still on Swedish’s major to-do list.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to share a hospital room with anybody,” Hammett said. “We’ve got that solved on the fourth floor.”

Edited version of story originally published in The Villager newspaper.