New hospital nearly ready: JRMC blitzes area with postcards so residents know when it will openThe wait is nearly over — after 21 months of construction the Jamestown Regional Medical Center is almost ready to open to the public.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The wait is nearly over — after 21 months of construction the Jamestown Regional Medical Center is almost ready to open to the public.
Located at 2422 20th St. S.W., the new medical center is off exit 256 on Interstate 94, on the outskirts of the city near Walmart. The JRMC isn’t currently surrounded by development, which is exactly what was required to achieve everything needed from a modern hospital, officials say. Its location means there’s room to expand and enough room to house all the necessary services conveniently.
“It’s technology, that’s what’s driving the change in health care today,” said Bill Kennedy, JRMC marketing director.
The old hospital was built for medicine before electronics. Any vital monitoring equipment makes patient rooms difficult to navigate because of external wires and machinery, Kennedy said.
“Measuring vital signs in a building like this is extremely difficult,” he said.
In addition to the cramped rooms, the ceilings are too low. There is no room for growth.
To get the space needed to remain downtown, anywhere up to 100 homes would have to have been purchased and leveled to make room for the expansion, said Marty Richman, CEO of the medical center.
“It was never a consideration either, because how could you ask someone to give up their home? That is never an easy thing to do,” Richman said.
In fact an architect was hired to find a way to keep the hospital downtown. But because of the impact on the neighborhood, and the estimated time for completion of five years downtown, versus 20 months at a new site, the choice was simple.
“It was clear at that time the only solution was to find a green space,” Kennedy said.
The idea to move out of downtown Jamestown was a collective one, shared by Richman, the Jamestown Hospital Board of Directors and physicians that were also involved in the decision-making process, Richman said.
“It’s a lot easier to build from scratch than to retrofit things,” he said.
The majority of costs for the $52 million project — $46 million — is covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The money is in the form of guaranteed and direct low-interest loans. The remaining $6 million came from donations by the community and the staff, in addition to fundraisers.
Part of that expansion was offering clinic services in one place. At this time only Essentia Health is relocating when an additional building is completed in August 2012, but the offer stands to the other two clinics, Kennedy said.
JRMC will serve an estimated 55,000 people in a nine-county region. Those counties are Wells, Eddy, Griggs, Barnes, LaMoure, Logan, Kidder, Stutsman and Foster.
Kennedy has worked with a variety of media to get the message out that at 7 a.m. Sunday, July 31, the new hospital opens.
“The challenge is to get to those 55,000 people so they know about it,” he said.
Part of the effort was a mass mailing of an estimated 50,000 postcards to every residence in the nine-county region — twice.
It’s important to reach everyone, including young families, because Kennedy said JRMC could see more young people with the only birthing center between Bismarck and Fargo.
Those families will be helped by a staff of 315 employees; 169 are full time.
“We’ve got a lot of new things we’re bringing to the new building, but one of the things we’re bringing with is the incredible staff we have,” Kennedy said.
The staff will be the same but once there main changes people will see are increased efficiency and safety for health care services.
One change people may not immediately see is the economic impact brought into the town.
By picking a location away from central Jamestown the new medical center paved the way for future development. This was done by paying for water, gas, sewer and the street.
“It will, I’m sure over time, encourage long-term development,” Richman said of southwest Jamestown.
Plus, each hire of new medical professionals also has a positive economic impact on the community.
JRMC recently announced the hiring of Dr. Michael Dean, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon.
This hire by itself is expected to have an economic impact of $2.3 million, Richman said. Inpatient and outpatient revenue are estimated at $900,000 alone due to Dean’s hire, plus wages for supporting staff and doctors will circulate in the community.
“It really goes back to being able to attract doctors and Mike Dean clearly represents what’s happening,” Richman said.