July 15th, 2004Next month, Great River Medical Center will begin an extensive construction project to accommodate the expansion of several existing services. The project will involve changes and additions to the hospital’s Behavioral Health, Surgical Services, Rehabilitation Services and Diagnostic Imaging departments.
Structurally, the most significant aspect of the new construction project will be the enclosure of the first floor under the existing Acute Care Unit. This L-shaped area is currently an open patio overlooking the campus’ 12-acre lake; the Acute Care Unit is located on the second floor and supported by pillars above this patio area.
“The first floor patio had been intended as an expansion area when the hospital was constructed,” said Mark Richardson, president and CEO of Great River Medical Center. “Our patient volumes, particularly for many outpatient services, have exceeded projections, so we’re expanding into this area perhaps sooner than we had thought.”
With the first floor enclosed, the following services will be expanded and/or reconfigured in this area:
• Behavioral Health Department – This department, which includes the Psychiatric Unit and Riverview Center for Addictions, is currently located on the first floor of the hospital immediately to the north of the area to be enclosed. The department will relocate to the west-facing extension of the new area. The number of inpatient psychiatric beds will remain eight, but the space will allow for the addition of comprehensive outpatient psychiatric services.
“The new Behavioral Health Department will give us the ability to offer outpatient psychiatric programs that provide treatment and support to patients as they make the transition from an inpatient environment to home and work,” said Edna Smull, vice president of Nursing. “We’re working with a consultant to design these services so that they are convenient and secure for the patient, and meet the needs of our community.”
• Catheterization laboratories – Last month, Great River Medical Center received approval from the state to build a second catheterization laboratory. This and the existing laboratory, which is located in the Diagnostic Imaging Department, will be installed in the first-floor space vacated by the Behavioral Health Department. In addition, several services now offered through the Cardiopulmonary Services Department will be moved to this cardiovascular area. These services include cardiac stress testing, Holter monitoring and echocardiography.
“Currently, our cardiovascular services are located in a couple different areas of the hospital,” Richardson said. “With this new configuration, we can provide most of our cardiovascular services in the same area, which will be much more convenient for patients.”
The hospital has no definite plans for the space that will be made available in Diagnostic Imaging when the existing catheterization laboratory moves.
“That’s something we’ll take a look at over the next few months,” Richardson said. “There’s a chance that we could add additional X-ray or other imaging services, but there’s no rush to make a decision on this.” • Helicopter transportation service – This fall, the hospital plans to begin offering a new helicopter transportation service that will be permanently located on the hospital campus. Next spring, construction will begin on a hanger and landing area for this service. The hanger and landing area will be located on the northwest side of the hospital campus, next to Great River Regional Laundry.
• Inpatient expansion area – The south extension of the new first-floor area will be enclosed, but there are no plans to make immediate use of this space. If needed, the space can be converted into an inpatient unit with approximately 20 beds.
“Our inpatient volume this past year has been extremely high,” Richardson said. “For most of the period between September 2003 and April 2004, we were running at full or near-full capacity. Much of this increase can be attributed to new services and an increased focus on promoting some of our existing services, such as our joint-replacement program.
“We’d like to monitor our inpatient volumes through the coming winter months to see if this past year was an anomaly or if there is a definite trend. If necessary, we can finish the rest of the first-floor space and create more patient rooms.”
• Inpatient Rehabilitation Gymnasium – This area, which is located next to the Behavioral Health Department on the first floor, will remain in the same location, but it will be reconfigured. As part of this reconfiguration, the hospital is looking into adding more equipment and other features to help patients develop activities of daily living.
“The primary purpose of our inpatient rehabilitation program is to help make the patient’s transition from the hospital to home and daily activities as smooth as possible,” said Lynette Collier, director, Rehabilitation Services. “Due to the nature of their injuries and illnesses, it is very important for many of our patient to be able to practice simple activities of daily living while they are still here in the hospital. This way, therapists can work with them on strategies and techniques to accomplish these tasks.”
Some of the features that may be added to the gymnasium include: a car, so patients can practice getting into and out of a vehicle; a mock grocery store; a kitchenette; various surfaces (brick, carpet, wood deck) and outdoor features (curbs, ramps, steps) that patients can practice walking on; and a homelike bedroom and shower/bathtub. • Surgical Services expansion – To address increasing surgery volumes, the hospital will move Endoscopy from its existing space in Surgical Services to a new second floor area that will be built above the Emergency Department and next to Surgical Services and the Intensive Care Unit. This move will double the number of dedicated endoscopy procedure rooms (from two to four) and add two surgical suites, for a total of 11.
It is estimated that it will take 18 months to complete the entire construction project. The total cost of the project is approximately $12 million.
While the hospital prepares for this significant construction project, several other recent projects have been, or soon will be, completed. They are:
• Heritage Medical Equipment and Supplies relocation – The Heritage Medical Equipment and Supplies store that had been located on the first floor of the Eastman Plaza has moved to a larger location on the first floor of the Mercy Plaza, next to Burlington Neurology and Sleep Clinic.
“We’re excited about the additional space and flexibility the new location provides,” said Lelia Wilkerson, manager, Heritage Medical Equipment and Supplies. “The new location gives us enough space to feature a private fitting room for postmastectomy products such as prostheses and bras. This is a great convenience for our customers.”
• Burlington Neurology and Sleep Clinic expansion – Burlington Neurology and Sleep Clinic’s office suite has been enlarged to accommodate a third neurologist, Sid Kapoor, M.D. Dr. Kapoor, who joins Anil Dhuna, M.D., and Nidal Alkurdy, M.D., will begin seeing patients this month.
• Southeast Iowa Cardiology Associates development – A physicians’ office suite for the new Southeast Iowa Cardiology Associates is nearing completion on the Eastman Plaza’s first floor. The new suite occupies space that had been the office of cardiologist Anthony Lazar, M.D., and the Heritage Medical Equipment and Supplies store. A 20- by 30-foot portion of the Mercy Plaza lobby also will become part of the new suite space. The entrance to the suite, however, will be located in the Eastman Plaza lobby. Dr. Lazar’s office has been temporarily relocated to suite 154 in the Mercy Plaza.
Dr. Lazar and cardiologist Mark Woodard, D.O., are the first two physicians to join Southeast Iowa Cardiology Associates. Great River Medical Center is recruiting an interventional cardiologist to join the practice.
“The creation of Southeast Iowa Cardiology Associates is a continuation of the process we began last year with Dr. Lazar and Dr. Woodard to expand cardiology services in the area,” Richardson said. “Our intent remains to offer angioplasty services at Great River Medical Center within the next year. This, together with the installation of the second catheterization laboratory, is an important step in realizing that goal.”
The new office suite will have room for future expansion, if needed. Southeast Iowa Cardiology Associates will begin seeing patients in early August.