By Scot Kersgaard
American Vein and Vascular Institute was founded in Colorado in 2009 with one goal: Provide the best patient care and the best patient experience in its specialty.
In only eight years, that commitment to patient care has fueled dramatic growth — American Vein now has seven locations in Colorado and one in Texas, making it Colorado’s largest network of vein clinics.
With humble roots in Pueblo, Colorado and big dreams of delivering world class care to an underserved population of people with vein disease — the company’s rapid growth has taken determination, elbow grease and commitment. “It’s not been easy and we’ve had our share of growing pains,” said co-founder and CEO Erin Reilly Gibbs. “In the early years, we didn’t have the history or finances to hire top talent. We knew the culture we wanted and the vision we wanted to fulfill, but sometimes we took for granted that people would just magically fit in. It took us a while to find and hire the right people and also create an environment where those people could thrive and grow with the business,” she said.
In the beginning with just one clinic, Gibbs said American Vein could be successful by simply focusing on best care practices. The business side was small enough that staff could manage patient care and business care. But, when the company began expanding in 2012, it became very clear very quickly that it also needed best business practices — and expertise to focus on business policies, procedures and processes in order to allow the clinic teams to continue focusing on great care delivered on the front lines. “It was no longer enough to take good care of our patients. We had to take care of the business. We had to learn how to recruit, retain and reward the best people, and I’m proud to say we did that,” she said. “To provide the best care, we need great people. For patients to feel valued, everyone on staff has to feel valued.”
Running a successful client-focused medical practice means no one in the business or in the clinic can ever be completely satisfied. “In a politically charged and rapidly changing area like healthcare as well as in a field of constant innovation and change like vein care, the only way to exceed ‘good enough’ is remaining current, educated and striving to be better,” she said.
Training, education and innovation combined with a culture that allows and encourages medical professionals to take time to listen to patients, to understand patient needs and to explain all possible care options enables American Vein to attract the very best doctors and professional staff. Many providers at the company are attracted to American Vein’s Phlebology Fellowship program, based on curriculum developed by the American College of Phlebology, which over a one-year period allows doctors to become board certified phlebologists.
Another factor that has driven growth is a commitment to ethical and enlightened business practices. With quarterly meetings that include reports and training for management and director level staff, to company-wide staff enrichment programs on top of free screenings and in-depth education for prospective patients and a commitment to win-win interactions with every person and company American Vein does business with — Gibbs said the company is focused on being a community asset in every location.
American Vein’s dedication to patient care is one of many differentiators to attract top doctors and other professionals. In a world where patients and doctors often complain about the lack of time, lack of help, lack of the latest technology and other deficiencies — American Vein & Vascular Institute honors the doctor-patient interaction and the fact that many doctors want to practice where success is not measured by the number of patients seen in a day, but by positive patient outcomes.
“It’s a two-way street. We thrive because our staff is engaged and willing to work hard improving skills and performance, so that every patient experiences the very best in care,” said Gibbs.
Such commitment has resulted in many honors over the years on both the business side and the clinical side. Co-founder and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Gordon F. Gibbs was recently appointed to the American College of Phlebology Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Gibbs, trained at the Mayo Clinic, also serves on the teaching faculty and strategic advisory board for Medtronic, where he works to help develop minimally invasive treatments for peripheral vascular disease. He was the first physician in Colorado to implement various cutting edge techniques, and this work has helped American Vein attract doctors from around the
world to study under him.
“Education is not only a core value of our company, but one that I live personally,” said Dr. Gibbs. “I’m excited to continue contributing to the future of phlebology and my fellow providers.”
Scot Kersgaard has been a journalist since the 1980s, and has been based in Colorado since 1987. He was the owner of a newspaper in Sun Valley, Idaho and recently served three years as editor of The Colorado Independent. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, Huffington Post, Colorado Health & Wellness magazine and dozens of other publications.