With the Pocahontas County Commission considering approving a USDA loan for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s Expansion Project, we asked PMH CEO Andrew Bair to talk about what that expansion entails and how it will improve hospital services to the community.
“What we look to do is expand our Rural Health Clinic,” Bair said. “The Rural Health Clinic is actually a separate department or clinic within the hospital. A lot of hospitals don’t have doctor’s offices within the hospital, but PMH does. And, that space is very cramped.”
Bair said the clinic needs more rooms for patients, work area for staff and a waiting area.
“The other thing is our waiting areas and our registration areas will be improved,” Bair continued. “When we talk about registration, that process will be much more private. That is really important. I think it is important that our community knows that we take their privacy seriously.”
The expansion will offer the much needed privacy.
“The other thing it does is it will expand Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy,” Bair said. “Those will be bigger departments, so they will be able to do some things. There will be an Occupational Therapy kitchen in there, so that if you are having to demonstrate that you can do these things, or practice in a place that is controlled and supervised, we can do that, and make sure you are safe in your home environment. The Cardio-Pulmonary or Respitory Therapy will be expanded, as well. So, where we do our pulmonary function tests and those kinds of things will be bigger. Right now, if you go into that department, it is just a hallway, and the treadmill and those kinds of things just barely fit in there. Additionally, our X-ray Department will be expanded, so we will be able to do mammography here. That’s a service that we very rarely get here. I know Betty’s Bus come here, I think once a quarter, we can just do those, and people can get their results much quicker. We will be able to do stress tests, and something called Thallium Stress Testing, where you need a nuclear medicine machine, so, we are expanding those services, as well.
“I know that the bid came in and the cost of supplies and all the construction materials really increased since we started looking at this. So, we fell short of being able to finance the entire project, and we’ll be looking for a fundraiser for the rest of the project that could not be funded by the USDA loan that we are asking the County Commission to sign off on.”
How many square feet will the expansion add to the hospital?
“The entire project was going to be 11,000 square feet, but the remodeling was going to be a lot more because of Physical Therapy and X-ray departments and those things. Those are all rejiggered as well, so we’ll see.”
“We had asked for an expanded ER and Intensive Care and an O.R. And, that’s just a little more expensive than we can handle through the USDA loan. We are looking for other ways of getting there, because we think that is important for our community.