Construction permit granted for new hospital

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At a glance

• Building permit granted Friday to Robins & Morton, The Memorial Hospital's general contractor.

• Setting up structural steel for walls and roofs scheduled to start after waterline installation is completed.

• Start date for steel work currently unknown.

• City waiting for subcontractor information and fee payment to complete permits for plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Construction is a go.

The city of Craig granted a building permit to The Memorial Hospital's general contractor, which will allow work to begin on the 300-room facility.

"The whole process went pretty smooth," Community Development Director Dave Costa said.

The approval came more than a week after TMH announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will guarantee the hospital's $40.3 million loan for the building.

Cost of the new facility has previously been estimated at $42.6 million. Funding will also come from a bond issue passed by voters in November 2007.

Costa praised specialists who played a role in completing the building permit.

"It's a pretty detailed, complex process and I have to commend our consultants," he said. "I felt they did an excellent job. We had really good teamwork between the design firm and the plan-checkers and myself."

Two permits - one for plumbing and another for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems - are still pending.

"The permits are ready to go," Costa said, adding that the city is waiting for fee payment and subcontractor information before processing the permit.

Meanwhile, workers under Robins & Morton, TMH's general contractor, are scheduled to start arriving in Craig to begin the first phases of vertical construction.

Putting up structural steel to support walls and roofs will be the first phase of facility construction on the site. Most of the foundation slab will be poured after the steel has been set.

The new building's storm sewers are nearly completed, and its sewer line is in the ground, said Barry Rodgers, Robins & Morton assistant superintendent.

However, crews must wait until water line installation is finished before they can begin building.

Rogers couldn't pinpoint a date when the vertical construction would begin. In addition to waiting for waterline installation, crews also have early winter weather to contend with, which could put a damper on construction plans.

However, Rodgers estimates that by the time plumbing installation begins on the site, he will have the permits in hand.

Workers on the way

The groundwork has been completed for the new hospital. Crews recently finished placing piers in the ground that will support the building's foundation.

Residents can soon see other evidence indicating that a new hospital will be under way: an influx of construction workers.

"It's all in motion now," Rodgers said. "The steel erector, the mechanical contractor, the electrician : subcontractor - they're all mobilizing, brining their trailers out at the end of this week (or) the first of next week."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

Comments

freeman 6 years, 2 months ago

WOW,,you think that the permits should of been issued along time ago.you can see were the priorities are with the county....kind of like the county purchasing the land at shadow mountain from tristate for dollars on the acre and selling it to the legion for 250,000 and telling them most of the equipment worked which was a lie also.......our beautiful county??????

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 2 months ago

Mmmm not necessarily. A lot of permits aren't issued until the project is ready to get underway. I have seen a lot of prints that aren't approved because of design problems. The home owner had the money, the material, the builder, and the desire, but was put on hold because his L-360 deflection rating on his floor joists, while fine for many applications didn't meet the required specification for the dead load it would have to carry with a second story made of logs. Same concept for the hospital's plans, just upgrad the standard home by 5000% and that is what the hospital had to go through to make sure "i"'s are getting dotted and "t"'s are getting crossed.

I think everything is on track for TMH now and we should see pretty smooth sailing.

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lostyermarbles 6 years, 2 months ago

I still think we should put the rec center people think they need to baby sit their kids so they don't have to raise them in the end of the hospital where all the beds won't be filled.

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 2 months ago

The new hospital will have the same amount of beds as the old one. The new hospital will have more space fo outpatient servces (better E.R., suregery, labs, etc.) I think they have been having a pretty high census of patients lately though.

I agree though with the idea that the Rec center thing-a-majig should wait until next year. A lot can happen in a year.

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xrsareus 6 years, 2 months ago

So did the city waist the $20,000.00 for a study before someone got smart and canceled this dream of a few? Or is the did the city spend $20,000.00 for a consultant to tell them not to go on with this dream instead of listening to the voices of many?

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grannyrett 6 years, 2 months ago

xrsareus--Yes, and you lost me with the second part.

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xrsareus 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry Granny, I was trying to be a poet.... Did the city spend $20,000 for a consultant to tell them this is not the right time instead of asking the "many" taxpayers that don't want this.. Is that better.

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grannyrett 6 years, 2 months ago

xrsareus-Gotcha-I think maybe they figured out that this may not be the best of times to keep pushing it. They seem to be a little slow learning what we all know. I doubt Dave or Tony read the forum. They probably think they have better things to do than find out how the public feels about this.

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cashNhand 6 years, 1 month ago

We should all have given Stan more credit. Now that the hospital has secured their money(thanks to us fools) they are starting to cut services to our citizens. The promises of great things to come with a new facility are beginning to fall apart. First up: the ambulance service, next? Look next to the fire department for another plea to the poor tax payers to fund the discarded ambulance service. Yet another one of SAMCO's plans set in motion.

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xrsareus 6 years, 1 month ago

cashNhand, Are you saying the Fire Department is taking over the ambulance from the hospitial? Was this news in the paper or where did you hear it from?

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cashNhand 6 years, 1 month ago

I have heard this as SAMCO put it, from the horses mouth. Also, if you know any firefighters ask then to show you the e-mail from the Chief regarding the subject. More to follow tomorrow. Keep in touch.

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stuning 6 years, 1 month ago

It's true that the hospital is exploring options to get out of the ambulance service. Unfortunately, EMS just doesn't pay for itself. Like all public safety services such as fire protection and law enforcement, there is no possible way to turn a profit when your "customers" often do not pay. If TMH Ambulance is collecting even 30 cents on every dollar billed, then they are beating the industry average. This is why the fire-based (and taxpayer funded) EMS service model is utilized by more than 60% of the United States. In fact, hospital-based services make up less than 8% of all the EMS systems in the U.S. It is an unfortunate yet true fact the call volume run by TMH ambulance is hardly enough to financially even consider an in-house staff 24/7. Many, many larger cities and communities across the U.S. run volunteer or paid per call services without any full time employees. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that an organization that must pay its bills cannot keep a business subdivision that loses money on a consistent basis. Moffat County will NEVER be without an EMS service. To put it simply, the service may have to be funded at least in part by taxpayers - provided the taxpayers believe that they have a RIGHT to an ambulance when they request one. Moffat County is lucky that the hospital was able to keep the service for as long as it has. Bottom line: Basic human rights and services, including public safety, are taxpayer funded and administered. This is the reason that Craig Fire-Rescue was approached. If another organization, for instance Moffat County, was forced to take over the ambulance they too would be forced to appeal to taxpayers for the financial support of the EMS system. In many metro areas, at least 20 to 30 cents of every tax dollar paid goes to fund fire and ambulance services. I'm quite certain that, even if taxpayers are asked to participate in the funding of a new EMS system model, that we would be anywhere near the 20-30% numbers see in larger communities.

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grannyrett 6 years, 1 month ago

I know it was quite a while ago, but the ambulance drivers used to be volunteers, who, like the fire department were called out when they were needed. We don't have the constant need for a regular staff 24/7.

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Rebelgirl 6 years, 1 month ago

Though many of you may not see the need for 24/7 coverage for the ambulance. The fact is the hospital went to 24/7 coverage was so that the ambulance crew could be out the door within ONE minute. Has anyone looked at the statistics for how long it takes as well as the increase in likely hood of an accident when responders both fire and ems memebers respond from home? Facts have shown for most emergency cases the sooner care is given the higher the chances of a full and benificail recovery for the person is. So in the middle of winter these people (both fire and ems) are having to drive safely, yet quickly to the station to respond to a call. Where as when the ambulance crew is staffed at the hospital they again are out the door within one minute regardless of weather conditions. Luckily we haven't yet but I am sure it is only a matter of time before someone is involved in an accident responding to a call. Thus possibly causing a further delay in a persons care. Does the community really want yet another tax increase to support the ambulance service after the hospital, school district, as well as fire district have already recieved tax increases within the last two years? Yes I as well as everyone else know that times are hard, but should we sacrifice the care that is available to our friends and families because people no longer want the ambulance service staffed 24/7? If you no longer see the need for 24/7 coverage then what do you suggest? You all agree that we need coverage but what is the answer? Have the ambulance crews work monday thru friday 8-5? Then what? What about the rest of the time?

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stuning 6 years, 1 month ago

Currently, the industry standard for ambulance response is 8 minutes and 59 seconds. Actually, study after study shows that rapid response rarely makes a life and death difference in patient outcome. In other words, except in a minority of cases, a response time of 4 minutes has shown no difference in comparison to a response of 8 minutes. There is no doubt that 24/7 emergency services coverage is a nice thing for a community to have. Even so, there is a formula that compares call volume to funding. 1,000 calls per year (which is TMH's average) is often not high enough to pay the bills. Like it or not, money is a factor. The money to pay salaries, fuel ambulances, and buy uniforms has to come from somewhere. It sure would be nice if service could be provided without a tax increase, but paying salaries 24/7 will preclude this. Either the service will have to provide in-house coverage only part ofthe time, or the service will have to change its funding and operations model. Unfortunately for the current full-time staff, the hospital may have been a bit hasty in their decision to take the staffing pattern to 24/7. This will inevitably result in hardships on the inncoent. It is not the administrators or managers who permitted such a staffing pattern change that will lose their jobs, but rather, the EMTs and Paramedics who left other full-time employment to serve the community. The are no easy answers when making the right decision costs people their jobs. One can only hope that the hospital, the community, and the incoming provider (whoever that may be) will do the right thing and assist those, in every way feasible, who have dedicated their lives to serving the community.

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stuning 6 years, 1 month ago

It's fascinating how a discussion about the best EMS system for our citizens has to degenrate to this level. Clearly my comments have ups to be iet you to the point that you feel you must post false rumors such as this. If you have issues with my views on how to best provide EMS to the citizens of Moffat County, those can be discussed in a civilized manner. If you want to smear, you should find a more appropriate forum than this. In any case, why not have the courage to stand by your comments by letting us know who you are - as I have? It sure doesn't give your comments any credibility when you make them from behind the cover of anonymity - it shows cowardice and it's pathetic.

Since you are apparently on the inside at TMH, you know as well as I do that narcotic sheets are signed by two people so forgery is logistically impossible. You know that narcotics require two keys to access and that each employee hold only one key. You know that I still practice EMS in the county on the Fire Department. Having never been contacted by the hospital, the police, or anyone at all regarding your allegations, I find it hard to believe that anyone but you is alleging this. Finally, you must know that I resigned from the hospital because I was a part-time employee being asked to work full time hours and then some. You must know then that I resigned on my own, worked out my two weeks, and left elligible for re-hire.

Stand by your comments and don't run and hide behind anonymity like a coward!

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 1 month ago

Lets remember that the fire department, the EMS, and the Memorial Hospital are all ownded by the county. Logically, one would think that if anyone could run the program the best and limit losses, it would be the hospital. The fire department doesn't know how to bill insurance nor do they provide healthcare on a regular basis, so it just makes sense that the hospital should be able to run it more efficiently than either the fire department or another agency of the county. So if it is a gaurantee that the service will lose money, it would seem that the hospital should be able to limit those losses (remember they are losses not to the hospital, but to the county) better than anyone else.

But it also makes sense that if there is going to be a loss on the system that the county helps limit the impact on the hospital by subsidizing the hospital (or purchase the services from hospital if you want to call it that) for running the program. But if the county does that, then the hospital should reduce the 24/7 coverage to an on-call basis to limit the losses; the county shouldn't have to pay for 24/7 coverage if that is what the hospital choses to do. But reducing coverage would mean of course laying off a bunch of staff, positions for which the hospital has posted in the Daily Press just this morning.

Does anyone know how much it costs the hospital to provide EMS coverage? I have heard a couple different numbers but they are pretty inconsistant. It would seem that you could easily staff an EMS program 24/7 with 8 people and some "on call" staff from the fire department (12 hour shifts - 3 on, 3 off, in two man teams). If it worked out to average 8.5 full time employees and you paid them each 35K - 40K per year you would have staffing costs of about $400,000 per year if benefits amounted to 25% of total payroll. Equipment and supplies would likely run an additional $100,000 per year, bringing the total cost of the program to around $500,000+ (I am sure there are other costs too like fuel, training etc. but they shouldn't be out driving around unless they are on a call) How many people do they transfer a year, does anyone know? How much does an average trip cost? If the average trip cost 700 bucks I would imagine it would take atleaset 900 - 1,100 calls per year (2.7 - 3.5 per day average?) to generate enough revenue to cover the $500K since many never pay, and that is a lot of trips for a town of only 13,000 people.

Also, what is SAMCO?

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stuning 6 years, 1 month ago

Your math is pretty close to the real numbers - except that I don't know exactly what the hospital is curently spending on the ambulance per year. 8.5 FTE is probably a little bit lower than current staffing levels, but even 8.5 is probably quite close. I believe that the fire department is a special taxing entity not subject to county oversight, but I'm not certain of this. I believe that about 75% of the calls run result in patient transfers, so with a little under 1,000 calls per year and 750 - 800 transports per year, they're still a little bit under the 2.7 - 3.5 transports required using your figures. Your average cost per trip is pretty close as well. You're right about subsidies, too. If the county provides subsidies, the hospital could probably cut loses enough to retain the service. Even so, I believe that there more than financial motives for the hospital's desire to shed the ambulance service.

Part of the problem facing the hospital is an inability to recruit and retain qualified staff - especially paramedics. There are many reasons for this difficulty. Some within the hospital's control and some not. If the fire department takes over, I can say with relative certainty that two things will be true: 1. There will be few or no FTEs 2. The service will be changed to an EMT basic service with paramedic support rather than sending an ALS provider on every call.

Just as an example, Cypress Creek Ambulance in suburban Houston, TX is a completely volunteer EMS system that runs 15,000 calls per year serving a population of half a million. If they can do it with volunteers, can we? I truly don't know the answer to that question, but it's stupid not to at least look at it.

SAMCO is Samantha Johnson, the hospital's Service Excellence Officer.

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xrsareus 6 years, 1 month ago

The fire department is a special tax district controlled by a board of directors that are elected by the taxpayers in the fire district. The county has nothing to do with it. Look at the tax statement you pay every year.

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stuning 6 years, 1 month ago

Apology not accepted. I'll accept that apology when you have the courage to stand behind your acusation by putting your name to it - which I'm sure you'll never do. It must be nice to able to run one's mouth with complete freedom and no fear of consequences...

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cashNhand 6 years, 1 month ago

First of all my apologies to STuning. I spoke out of turn and acted on a rumor. Secondly SAMCO is Sam and Company(TMH Admin). I think that some of the EMT's and hospital staff in general are concered that their lively hood is in jeapordy. Just because the industry standard response time is 8 mins 59 seconds does not mean that the citizens of MOCO don't deserve better. After all the whole idea behind any public service is just that. Like was stated earlier, just how much are we willing to sacrafice for what we have come to enjoy. I understand that the hospital is just a business like any other, but different on many levels. For an EMS service to make money this day in age is a rarity and TMH is no exception. The main reason for going 24/7 to my understanding was to provide better pt. care to the people who need it. The fire department and the ambulance have always enjoyed a healthy working relationship and my only hope is that this can continue.

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Taxpayer 6 years, 1 month ago

And the hospital only lost $49K in September. And that's with the mil levy, and $$ from the hospital foundation. What happened to the bonus dollars the employees were promised?

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 10 months ago

A friend of my mother's called for an ambulance yesterday and waited over 30 minutes for them to respond (she lives in the middle of town). I'm not sure what took them so long but we citizens deserve a better response than that. Rebelgirl defended the 24/7 EMS coverage at the hospital by stating that the ambulance crew is out the door within ONE minute of the call. So my question is: What did they do with the other THIRTY minutes it took them to respond to my mom's friend????? Maybe the fire department should take over the ambulance service.

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JDM 5 years, 10 months ago

Concernedcitizen: I am aware of the call that you referenced above and I am sorry that your mothers friend had to wait. As you stated the ambulance crew is required to be en-route to the call within one minute while in house. Monday-Friday during the hours of 0600-1800 there is not a scheduled crew to respond to second and third out ambulance calls and everyone who can responds when there is a 911 call. The scheduled crew that is required to be en-route within one minute was out on another 911 call. Unfortunately until there is a scheduled crew to run on those second and third out calls during the above stated hours, all of us involved do our best to respond. Just to add one more thing, at all other times there is a scheduled crew to respond from home which obviously will take a little longer. I apologize that your mothers friend had to wait so long in her time of need.

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Globe 5 years, 10 months ago

Maybe if the ambulance staff signed a contract that they would be at the patient's house within so many minutes or they would be fired this kind of thing wouldn't happen. From what I hear the hospital uses a lot of these kinds of "motivational" tool with their staff to try to make up for their inability to manage. Just a thought. JDM I think the ambulance crew does really good especially considering your circumstance.

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