Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Two Penrose surgeons to move to Memorial this spring

GARRISON WELLS Updated: January 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

A pair of top surgeons will join Memorial Hospital this spring.

Thoracic surgeon Dr. Matthew Blum and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Martin Beggs will leave Penrose-St. Francis Health Services when their contracts expire to move across town.

The move leaves Penrose with cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr. John Mehall, Penrose spokesman Chris Valentine said. But Penrose patients will not be affected, he said.

“Other doctors will step in, and patients will not notice anything,” Valentine said.

At Memorial, Blum and Beggs will join Dr. Bryan Mahan, who has been with the system since 1999.

Blum, according to a news release, is one of four thoracic surgeons in Colorado. The others work at Memorial’s sister hospital, University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. Thoracic surgeons specialize in chest surgeries, with a focus on the treatment of lung cancer.

Colorado Springs voters agreed to lease Memorial to University of Colorado Health in August.

Since taking over Oct. 1, the system has been adding employees and upgrading facilities. The plan calls for tens of millions in capital projects, according to the release.

Patients, Blum said, “will have the most up-to-date treatment possibilities available.”

Beggs, along with Mahan, will focus on heart surgery.

Blum, Beggs and Mahan will be part of UCHealth’s Colorado Health Medical Group, which includes more than 200 physicians and advanced practice providers. The medical group at Memorial has grown by more than 40 percent since Oct. 1.

Blum’s recruitment, said Dr. David Fullerton, head of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at UCH “will open new doors for patients in Colorado Springs.”

The moves will slow Penrose’s plans to expand its heart program, however.

“While they are two excellent surgeons and we’re sorry that they are going elsewhere, the programs will continue. We had a strong program and will continue to have a strong program,” Valentine said.

Penrose was advertising for another surgeon. Now that position will be used to replace one of the two who are leaving.

The hospital is in the middle of building a $6 million hybrid operating room. Called TAVR, for Tranvascular Aortic Valve Replacement, it will allow Penrose to use a new, minimally invasive method to repair a heart valve, Valentine said.

Penrose also is adding two catheter labs.

“Our heart program is big and it’s growing,” Valentine said. “Will the fact that one heart surgeon is moving on impact the program in the interim? Sure.”

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