WINTER PARK — Parents seeking specialist pediatric care will have to look closer to Denver or elsewhere after Grand County’s only pediatric office closes June 13.
Peak Pediatrics, which has already limited its appointments to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Winter Park, will close its Winter Park office permanently due to a dearth of nurse practitioners, said Dr. Brian Gablehouse, one of the practice’s physicians.
“It’s hard to stay open when there is nobody there to work,” he said.
The practice, which has served the Grand County community for longer than nine years, still operates offices in Wheat Ridge and Thornton.
The Winter Park closing will affect more than 1,000 patients and their families, Gablehouse said. Records for patients will be held indefinitely.
Though parents may no longer have an option for pediatric care in Grand County, there are alternatives like family practitioners, said Jen Fanning, Grand County Rural Health Network executive director.
“All of the family practice doctors are confident they can handle this closure and take over those kids,” Fanning said.
Dr. Jeffrey Lipke of Ten Mile Family Medicine in Granby said he already sees several children as their primary physician.
“Family medicine is a specialty training just like pediatrics is,” Lipke said. “There are exceptionally few disease processes that a family physician would not feel comfortable treating.”
Lipke said he felt t the scope of training that family practitioners have is advantageous when caring for an entire family, children included. When needed, they can always defer to a subspecialist, he said.
However, Gablehouse cautioned that some children with special medical needs may have trouble finding the care they need locally.
“Certainly for the kids with more serious chronic illnesses and mental health needs, I think it’s going to be difficult to address all of those things in Grand County,” Gablehouse said. “Not impossible, but difficult.”
Meanwhile, Fanning said, the community would continue searching for other pediatricians.
“We are looking at recruiting pediatricians as a community, so hopefully that’s on the horizon sooner rather than later,” she said.
See accompanying story: “Grand County patients bid farewell to several health care professionals”
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610