Hospital plans unveiled to rave reviews

by barbara anne greene

The reconstruction and modernization plans for South Big Horn County Hospital brought oohs and ahs for those seeing the presentation from Dan Odasz from Plan One Architects. Odasz presented a three dimensional view of the proposed additions and new construction at the Feb. 21 monthly board meeting.

While the final colors and finishes haven’t been chosen, the concept of the new look is beautiful. It features a covered entrance with room for two vehicles for drop off. Odasz said even though the phases they are working on are in the back they needed to design the front as well in order to be consistent in roof height, aesthetics, etc.

Phase one was completed last year with the radiology and lab addition. Phase two construction will be the new emergency room and mechanical plant addition. This will be on the west side or the back of the facility.

Phase three construction will be the inpatient services addition. This will also be in the back next to the emergency entrance. There will also be a side entrance that faces north.

Phase four of construction will be the dietary and central warehouse. This will be built on the south side of radiology and have much closer access to the nursing home. There will be a loading dock as well. New water and sewer lines will be a part of this project.

The existing nursing home will stay the same.

Eventually the board hopes to have a new outpatient clinic, administration and physical therapy additions as well. That is when the covered entrance comes in.

The request for bid will go out end of April or beginning of May. Odasz noted there was a lot interest from contractors already. The project estimate is as follows: Emergency room and mechanical plant addition — $2,992,685; inpatient services ‑ $1,390,603; dietary and central warehouse; $2,055,325; legal fees — $50,000; cost escalation for one year – 1 percent — $65,000. Total $6,553,613. The total new construction will be 17,000 square feet.

Copies of the plans and costs are available at the hospital for the public to view.

In other business at last Thursday’s meeting:

•Board member and treasurer Jack Preston gave the financial and treasurer  reports which were approved and accepted unanimously.

•Hospital administrator Jackie Claudson gave a nursing home, clinic and hospital reports.

“The nursing home is doing amazing,” said Claudson. The residents enjoyed the Valentine party and the students from the Basin school who came to visit. The staff is doing well with the new computer system. They are doing the documentation and doing a nice job.

In the clinic/hospital report, Claudson indicated that the biggest thing going on is the continued learning on the new computer system. She is talking to staff regularly to continue to move the system forward. “They are all trying very hard.”

Claudson also discussed that as a critical access hospital they have to do a community health survey every three years. There will be a group coming to help do the survey that was hired by the Wyoming Hospital Association. In addition to community involvement the board will also need to be a part of it. This will happen sometime in March.

•Board president Diana Elliott talked about a seminar put on by the American Hospital Association that three of the board members attended. The seminar was called, “Making a difference for patients. The boards role in quality and safety.”

Elliott said, “As a board we are answerable  to the whole community. Not just the voters who elected us and not just for the tax dollars they entrusted us with. We are answerable for the quality of health care. Quality care from the staff, doctors, nurses, lab, x-ray, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance … the whole. Our job is to make ourselves aware of the problems, issues and make sure they are fixed.”

The board does not fix these problems but they need to know about them and that there are procedures in place to fix them and that the procedures are followed through with, she added.

The board agreed to have a work meeting at least once a year. They will be reviewing the mission and vision statements to make sure they reflect what the board wants them to say. They will also get more involved in the Quality Assurance Program (QAP) at the hospital so they understand more what is going on and that actions are being taken to fix issues if there are any.

Board member Sue Antley recently attended her first one. She said, “It was very interesting and done very well.” The QAP is held once a month. Representatives from each department meet at least four times a year with the QAP coordinator.