By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
The Memorial Hospital may have a new interior look in the near future.
At The Memorial Hospital's Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night, members voted to accept the low bid of $116,000 by Rodewald Construction to remodel the TMH meeting room and the unfinished basement of the Visiting Nurse Association building.
"We approved the motion to remodel our current meeting room into an outpatient facility and to remodel the VNA basement into a meeting room," said Chuck Sis, board of trustee chairman. "This decision is pending on whether or not we have problems with a state survey done for the hospital's conversion to critical access."
The board recently voted to convert TMH to critical access status, which makes it eligible for special payment arrangements with Medicare.
In order to receive those special payments, the hospital must meet several federal guidelines, which will be assessed in a survey soon to be conducted.
If the remodel job does not interfere with TMH's plan to convert to critical access, the hospital will go forward with the remodel of the meeting room and VNA basement.
Rodewald Construction would add a finished lobby and meeting room to the unfinished basement of the VNA building.
The existing meeting room in the hospital would be remodeled into a day surgery area, where patients are prepared prior to surgery, and returned after surgery to recover and be released.
The purpose is to avoid having ambulatory patients taking up beds in the hospital, said Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps.
An example of an ambulatory patient is someone who has their knee scoped, and currently those patients are placed in a patient bed before and after surgery, Phelps said.
Under the new setup, a patient would wait on a stretcher in a day surgery room before and after surgery.
Phelps said the remodel job needs to be done despite the tentative plans to build a replacement hospital in the near future.
"Number one is that we have a 24-month construction time on a new hospital from the day we break ground," he said. "It would be three-and-a half years from today before the hospital would be operational."
Many people would receive the benefits of the remodel between now and then, he said.
"For that period of time we're going to put through 480 outpatients per year," he said. "More than 1,500 patients would have the benefits of the new ambulatory facility.
"We still have a lot of work to do before we make any commitments on a replacement hospital," Phelps added.