Thursday, February 22, 2024

Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics commissioners updated on new build progress

Inclusion of clinic with new hospital build being strongly considered

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CHELAN – Hospital board commissioners heard a variety of special reports from staff and contractors during their regular board meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 27, inside the board room at Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC). Reports presented to the board included a quality improvement plan, fourth quarter safety dashboard and monthly departmental reports, however, of the many reports provided, much of the discussion revolved around informational updates concerning the hospital’s new facility.
Leading into the session’s agenda was an update from Project Manager Kris Paulson, of Collins Woerman. Paulson spoke to the progress made on the architectural/planning aspect of the build of the hospital’s new facilities at Apple Blossom Center, highlighting departmental patient flows and milestones accomplished in the pre-design stages to date. Beginning in September of 2017, the team initially identified critical success factors for the hospital, which included maintaining a close-knit culture that reaches across roles and departments and designing to anticipate patient and family needs throughout their experience. “It’s good that we reflect back to these and see how the project is progressing,” Paulson added, “as it (the project) relates in tying back to these critical success factors.”
As a result of discussions during the last two pre-design stages, Paulson said they were able to identify where parts of the build could increase. Part of the increase in functionality of the campus included the idea of coupling the clinic in with the hospital, while meeting the square footage needs of both facilities. “We believe we’ve come to that opportunity to be able to make that a realization,” he announced to hospital board members and staff. LCCHC CEO Kevin Abel suggested “it will allow for a multi-disciplinary approach and a more modern clinic practice overall,” then adding, “I think the benefits are huge for us.”
In a follow-up interview with Lake Chelan Mirror staff, LCCHC CEO Kevin Abel explained the intent with the inclusion of the clinic at the new hospital. “What we’re looking at doing,” he explained, “We’re looking at an option of locating (the administrative offices) down at the currently leased space,” where the clinic is currently located downtown, he explained, “then having the clinic up at the hospital. What that does is reduce duplication of things like lab and radiology, it brings the physicians really close to the patients up there so they’re able to round much easier.” The placement of the clinic will also relieve some of the strain currently on materials management, which drives supplies to the clinic and back to the hospital every day. “So, we’re looking at the possibility of doing that,” Abel stated, “but one of the first things you have to do is to find the square footage and can you kind of trade those two areas out and make it work within the budget.” The square footages have been defined, as have the minimums that could be done to pull off the office switch, he said, but “we still have to wait for Bouten (Construction) to come back with a financial analysis before the commissioner really puts their stamp on it and says for sure this is what we’re doing.” It’s safe to say, however, that the decision for the clinic placement is heading that way, Abel concluded, and is being seriously evaluated and contemplated.
Next steps for Collins Woerman is the schematic design phase said Paulson in conclusion of his update. “That’s where we start looking at the actual design elements of the facility,” he explained, “taking the next step to those departmental adjacencies that we are starting to work through with the clientele and looking at this site and how the campus can be developed from a design perspective and operational perspective.”
Joe Thompson, with LCCHC, next presented the idea of hiring professional equipment planners in preparation for the transferring of equipment into the new building once completed.
“We’ve looked at a number of opportunities with equipment planners,” he began, “from bringing equipment planners in to providing a full-service, do everything for us … to us being more involved.” Being more involved would save the hospital money, save time and “bring us into the playing field a little bit more,” he emphasized to the board members, “that’s the plan I chose.” This type of service would help the hospital during the transporting of equipment between the old and new hospital and would include capturing the full inventory of the full hospital, he explained, “we’ve been managing that, we have some historical databases that have been worked with over a number of years, and this is an opportunity to really capture those, get them cleaned up, get them tidy, and get them over to the new building.” Thompson recommended hiring Mitchell Planning, out of Portland, Oregon, who has worked with a number of other critical access hospitals. In comparison to other companies that preferred to take over the project rather than work together on the project, Mitchell Planning “joins forces” and steps in to help out when we need it, then steps aside, he explained, which will save the hospital a lot of money and time doing it that way. The cost for Mitchell Planning’s services is a firm base cost of $45,000, but not to exceed $50,000, which is covered within the hospital’s building budget under soft costs. The board approved moving forward with contracting Mitchell Planning for equipment services.
The LCCHC board of commissioners meet every fourth Tuesday of the month, beginning at 1:30 p.m. inside the board room at the hospital. March’s meeting, however has been moved up a week due to a rural hospital conference, and will instead take place Tuesday, March 20.

LCCHC, hospital, build, CEO, meetings

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