Focus Vail Valley

Dr.Tom Steinberg Vail’s First Physician And Dedicated Citizen Dies

One of Vail’s oldest and dearest residents–and Vail’s first physician – Dr. Tom Steinberg, 93, passed away of complications from pneumonia on September 25.

“He was at Vail Health Medical Center when he died,” his son Erik told the Vail Daily.

“When he died,” Erik said, ‘You know your way out of the building, Dad.’ ”

Steinberg was a World War II veteran who participated in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp for which he received a Bronze Star for bravery. Aft er seeing an ad that detailed the need for a physician in a new ski area, Steinberg arrived in Vail in 1965, with his wife, Florence, and their children, Erik and Kristina.

In the beginning, Steinberg’s offi ce was in the basement of The Red Lion. If the doctor was busy when ski patrol brought down an injured skier, the patient had to wait on a bench outside, as there was no waiting room. However, in 1971, Steinberg moved to a medical building, which is still used by Vail Health. By then, Drs. Bill Holm and Jack Eck had joined him, along with nurses, pharmacists and a dentist.

“We all worked together,” Eck told the Vail Daily, when asked about those early days. “There were about 10 to 12 people total.


Members of the community gathered to honor the completion of the Vail Valley Medical Center’s new west wing, and its name change to Vail Health, as well.

“The hospital has always been the heart of our system, but at the same time, we’ve expanded across community,” said Doris Kirchner, Vail Health CEO. “In Order to recognize that and connect all of our locations, we are now known as Vail Health.” The west wing expansion includes a cardiac catheterization lab, where cardiologists can see and repair the arteries and chamber of the heart; five new rooms in the intensive care unit; five new private rooms in the patient care unit; an expanded surgical services suite featuring a new pre-operative and post operative recovery wing–and an expanded, state-of-the-art space for Howard Head Sports Medicine. It also includes a new fourth fl oor for The Steadman Clinic and research space for Steadman Philippon Research Institute.

The west wing expansion and remodel was phase one of Vail Health’s Master Facility Plan. Phase two, the 350,000-square foot east wing, will continue to 2020 and include a new 24/7 Emergency Department; a relocated helipad on the medical center campus, with direct access to the hospital campus, increased parking capacity, a new main entrance on South Frontage Rd., a new pharmacy, gift shop and coff ee shop, and a new imaging/radiology department.

The 72,000 sqare foot expansion and renovation of the hospital, which took place over two years, marks a halfway point in the facilities master plan.