by Steve Peterson
Hawarden area residents will have a chance to give views about the Hawarden Regional Healthcare (HRH) plan to go forward with an application for a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
Hawarden councilors voted 4-0 in support of the HRH plan to go forward on March 13, then approved a resolution supporting the USDA application at an April 10 meeting. The budget for the project is an estimated $10 million.
Community residents will have their official say on the matter at a meeting at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, June 6 at West Sioux High School.
“It is a requirement of the USDA. We will be there for a question-and-answer session,” said HRH CEO Jayson Pullman, adding he has had several conversations with USDA since councilors gave approval for the HCH to seek funding and they have been positive.
In January, Pullman reported to Hawarden councilors what the future of the hospital will look like in an expansion and renovation project that will reportedly serve the hospital and community needs for decades.
The total project will be $9.9 million and the square footage will stay about the same as the present campus, 30,000 square feet, on 1111 11th Street in Hawarden.
Pullman, along with Kristopher Marwin and Melissa Springer of Samuels Group, which has been working with the hospital expansion-renovation project for about a year, made the presentation. Hoefer & Wysocki Architecture is the architect. Pullman, Marwin and Springer were also in attendance at the March 13 councilors’ meeting.
“We feel it is necessary for the hospital. We have been looking at the project with Samuels Group for a project that makes sense for the community and hospital needs for 20 to 30 years,” said Pullman, explaining the plan calls for demolition of the original 1936 wing of the hospital due to its cost of upgrading.
“The building is sound but there are significant flaws such as ceiling to floor problems, water leaks in the kitchen and there are tuck pointing problems,” according to the report.
Phase I floor plans, according to documents presented to the city by the hospital, include:
• An ambulance-emergency department entrance with expansion to 2,250 square feet;
• Radiology area for 2,280 square feet;
• Surgery area for the first phase of 3,050 square feet and 2,400 in Phase II;
• A 1,555 square feet clinic,
• Business office; waiting area of 1,000 square feet,
• Medical and surgery expansion area with eight private patient rooms and 12 semi-private patient rooms; In-patient room area will be eight private patient rooms within the renovation area with an area for patients’ families and care givers as well. The renovated area will include phase one and phase two surgery expansions; definition of zones, and a sense of hospitality with warm and inviting colors.
A new surgery suite will include a state-of-the-art operating room; three surgery prep and recovery rooms; renovated physician locker and lounge.
• Separation of public and staff circulation;
• An upgraded and efficient mechanical system; and
• Expanded hospital services department.
Revenues generated from the project will be a positive Medicare reimbursement from an annual loss to a positive annual gain, according to the first plan.
“We’re a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and we feel we fit the description of that the best,” said Pullman, explaining CAH hospitals are small, rural facilities which provide 24-hour emergency services with a maximum of 25 acute beds. The average length of stay of 96 hours and both inpatient and outpatient services are offered. HRHC has 10 acute and 15 “swing” beds.
Project benefits include expansion of service and procedures; increased physician recruitment and ease of expansion and growth.
Springer told councilors through the USDA loan process, the city’s risk will be limited liability. (The process is the same as Akron Care Center’s successful garnering of funds for its new project.)
The Hawarden Regional Healthcare Board of Trustees recommended the funding to be a combination of intermediate-term fixed rate tax-exempt (bank placement) and long-term fixed rate funding, working with the staff at Baird Inc.
Since 2008 the HCH’s areas of growth include aggregate patient days have been up 25 percent; Emergency Room visits up 35 percent; Outpatient visits up 50 percent; Radiology use up 57 percent; and laboratory, 183 percent increase, according to a hospital brochure.