Grundy County Memorial Hospital is preparing for a major renovation project | News, Sports, Jobs

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC An architect’s rendering shows an exterior view of what would be the newly constructed surgical center at Grundy County Memorial Hospital at Grundy Center. The dedicated entrance will provide much-needed space for the growing number of surgery patients at GCMH to arrive and check in and will add to the visibility of the hospital from Highway 175.

GRUNDY CENTER — One of the region’s most critical healthcare resources is set to undergo a major renovation project over the coming year in a bid to modernize the facility and improve health and safety. access for patients.

Grundy County Memorial Hospital (GCMH) is preparing to move forward with a $29.4 million renovation project as part of the hospital’s facilities master plan. The objective of the renovation project will be to add a new surgery center, improve the facilities of the radiology and imaging department and increase the space available for the laboratories.

The current GCMH Surgery Center is located in the oldest part of the building, which was constructed in the 1950s. Although the Surgery Center has undergone several renovations over the years, much of the infrastructure under The underlying elements, such as the electrical system and the heating and cooling system in this area, are decades old and need to be replaced.

The current capital project would move the surgery center from one operating room to two and adapt the remaining space to accommodate the modern equipment that GCMH currently uses.

“The space is not sized appropriately for today’s technology and equipment as well as the number of people who need to use the space,” said GCMH Administrator Adam Scherling. “When we completed our facility master plan process, which sort of looks at the gaps across our entire campus, surgery really stood out as an area where we have seen significant growth over the last five years. years. But it is also an area where we have many limits.

At GCMH, patients can undergo surgeries such as joint repair and replacement, colonoscopies and endoscopies, cataract treatment, and gallbladder surgery with visiting surgeons from the UnityPoint Health System.

Scherling said members of the GCMH board of commissioners told him they wanted to make sure the hospital could continue to build on the reputation it had built over the past decade around its services. of surgery.

“I think they recognize that the communities we serve love having that convenience and experience of local outpatient surgeries,” Scherling said.

Not only will the capital project meet the needs inside the surgery center, but it will also provide surgical patients with a dedicated entrance and waiting area. Currently, they use the same entrance and lobby as medical clinics, radiology and therapy departments.

The new surgery center will be built on a vacant plot of land inside the GCMH campus that once housed the long-term care unit.

Scherling said radiology departments will also be affected by the project, as the hospital has seen significant growth over the past few years in the number of MRI scans it performs.

Exam volume has nearly quadrupled over the past nine years at GCMH, from 216 patient exams in 2013 to nearly 800 in the current fiscal year. Currently, the hospital uses a mobile MRI facility which requires patients to exit the building and walk approximately 50 meters around the building to access it.

The capital project would make room for the MRI facility inside the hospital as well as the CT scanner which is scheduled to be replaced in the coming year. A mobile dock will be built to enable additional services such as PET scanners and nuclear medicine to be offered in the future.

“We’re really looking to impress people when they come to our radiology department,” Scherling said. “MRI scans aren’t always the most pleasant experience of being in that tight space for an extended period of time. But it’s pretty amazing what design can do for dedicated MRI spaces.

The laboratory area is the third section of the hospital to be tackled in the upcoming project. At present, the GCMH laboratory has an open space to take blood samples from patients.

Up to three patients can be seen in the blood collection area at a time with only curtains available for privacy. In the new lab area, patients will be able to use separate blood collection rooms that provide greater privacy and staff will have more square meters to accommodate an increased number of lab analyzers that were acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19.

Funding and timeline

The $29.4 million GCMH renovation project is expected to be funded by the USDA Rural Development Agency and will not depend on any general obligations across the county, as was the case for some previous renovations.

Currently, GCMH carries approximately $10 million in outstanding debt to the county for prior general obligation bonds entered into to fund prior capital improvement projects.

The 2022-23 capital project financing plan would repay outstanding debt to the county, with approximately $8 million being paid from available cash and the remaining $2 million being refinanced in loans from the USDA.

“We are very fortunate that the hospital’s balance sheet is in the state it is,” Scherling said. “Few hospitals have the luxury of bringing in the level of money that we seek to bring. And even then, we do so at a conservative level in terms of the amount of money available after the contribution.

Last week, GCMH officials learned that their request for funding through the USDA Rural Development Agency had been approved, paving the way for the investment project to begin moving forward.

The plan would be to send the project to auction in April with the expectation of awarding the construction contract in May, and the target time frame for the start of construction is June.

The majority of GCMH patients come from a 35-mile radius around the Grundy Center and include the communities of Reinbeck and Gladbrook. In the last fiscal year, the hospital surpassed 50,000 outpatient visits for the first time in its history dating back to 1952.

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