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PMC Sets September 22 for Community Open House

Craig Loveless and Julie Branes at 2015 Groundbreaking

Craig Loveless and Julie Branes at 2015 Groundbreaking

Prowers Medical Center has set September 22nd for its community open house which will showcase the hospital’s renovation project which began in April of last year.  CEO Craig Loveless announced the date during the hospital board’s monthly meeting August 24th.  “We’ll provide a full tour from 4pm to 6pm on that Thursday and we invite the public to view the improvements we’ve made to the surgical theaters, the emergency room and the new gym which will increase our services in rehabilitation,” he announced.  Loveless said one of the two operating rooms will be on a stand-by mode should it have to be used that afternoon.  He added that an independent contractor had been hired to review the renovation work as a part of normal due diligence in these circumstances.  Other improvements included a revamped HVAC system, a new boiler, all-weather ambulance access to the emergency room, upgraded electrical and phone systems as well as hallway construction which provides patients with greater privacy.

Early Construction at Hospital

Early Construction at Hospital

The self-funded project is the result of over a year of planning on the part of hospital staff and board members. An earlier attempt for an expansion project, which would have been funded through a bond, failed when local voters decided the proposal was too expensive for what had been submitted for hospital improvements.  The new expansion project, developed mostly under a new board and administration, was paid for out of hospital reserves.

Loveless said the open house will unfortunately be several days ahead of the scheduled return of Dr. James Smith, general surgeon at Prowers Medical Center. Smith, who had an earlier surgical career in the Army, is on reserve duty for several years and will return from a three month commitment in Honduras on September 26th to resume his career at Prowers Medical Center.  Several years ago he served with a combat MASH style surgical unit in Afghanistan and continues to volunteer to help run a clinic in Haiti with assistance from PMC.

Board member, Ron Farmer, at the outset of the Wednesday monthly meeting, recommended the board develop plans for a means to invest surplus cash reserves for PMC. He suggested the board look into plans to incorporate one, three or five year scenarios, but did not present any specific amounts that would be handled.  Rick Robbins and Aaron Leiker of PCDI-PEP, the county economic development organization, would probably say that, ‘timing accounts for a lot of success’, as the meeting segued into their spot on the agenda to outline their recent fundraising efforts to help support the newly revised organization.  Robbins noted that improved housing selections, priced comparably to medical provider salaries at the hospital, could work in favor of future physician recruitment.  He said the idea has already been broached during earlier conversations with CEO Loveless and the High Plains Community Health Center executive director, and hoped the board would consider making a fundraising investment with PEP, but not solely on that suggestion.  Board chair, Julie Branes, said the hospital’s budget discussions would begin in early October and their request would be added to the agenda.

Loveless also announced the planned Bridgecare Health Network is now functioning. “The network combines the services of five hospitals in southeast Colorado,” he told the board.  The hospitals include Prowers Medical Center, Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, plus Trinidad, Springfield and Walsenburg hospitals.  A fifteen member board provides for three community members as well as an executive director which is currently being sought through adverting and medical contacts.  Local members include Loveless, Julie Branes and Dr. Ray.  Loveless added the thrust of the alliance is for improved local medical care, not to drive patients to a larger metropolitan hospital.  “One example now in effect is that through Parkview’s efforts we’re increasing cardiology provider visits to PMC by eight a month,” he explained.  On that note the CEO stated that the local Patient/Family Advisory Council has been formed which will work to improve the overall health aspects for the community in general, not just on specific points.  “We’re going to have focus groups provide the council with feedback for community access and needs for a healthier lifestyle,” he said.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEventsFeaturedHealthPublic Safety

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