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County Hospital board gives go-ahead to start building planning process PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Friday, 05 February 2016 17:43

By Russ Pankonin

The Wauneta Breeze


Board members of the Chase County Community Hospital gave Administrator Steve Lewis the go-ahead to begin the planning process for a new facility.

They assigned him the task during their regular meeting Jan. 28.

Board Member Eddie Nichols of Wauneta said it’s time to resume the planning for a new facility.

He asked Lewis to put the item on last week’s agenda to begin the discussions.

Nichols believes the hospital has turned the corner financially for the positive and said it’s time to start planning for a facility.

Lewis said he will be contacting several firms with the expertise to assist in the planning process.

Nichols said the employees have put forth a lot of effort and work over the last year to help turn things around.

Nichols said it’s hard to recruit medical personnel to a facility that’s obsolete. The current facility was built in 1977.

Lewis said the facility was state-of-the-art when it was built, focusing on in-patient procedures.

Medicine and health care have changed significantly over the years, Lewis said. The emphasis has shifted towards speciality clinics and out-patient procedures that don’t require long hospital stays.

Lewis sees the planning process represents a critical step in designing a facility to meet patient needs for the future.

Nichols said he sees hospital employees heavily involved in planning process because they know best what’s needed.

During a recent meeting with the commissioners, Lewis said commissioners urged the hospital board to become more proactive on a building project.

In 2012, the board approved a $13 million renovation plan that would have added a new wing to the north side of the existing hospital.

The existing hospital would have been renovated for other services and departments.

However, a change in administration and board composition stalled the project.

Nichols said he favors an entirely new facility in a high-visibility location versus renovating or adding on to the current facility.

The planning process will help define some of those issues as well as how the project can be financed.


Challenge grant

At last week’s meeting, Lewis told the board that BWTelcom has offered a challenge grant to the hospital foundation.

If the foundation can raise $50,000, BWTelcom will match it with another $25,000.

The money would be earmarked for a new mammography machine, Lewis said.

Lewis also reported the hospital has recruited a new physical therapist that’s scheduled to start in late May or early June.