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How Do You Move a Hospital?

Posted Sunday, November 15, 2009, at 10:37 AM

The simple answer - very carefully. The complicated answer would be with years of planning and planning and more planning by the all the powers that be.

A year ago when I was hired for a part time emergency room evening/weekend admit clerk position, the anticipation was already in place since the facility was already under construction. (Where has the last year gone?)

Next Friday, the actual move into the 56,000 square foot, $21 million Community Medical Center located in at the northern edge of Falls City will commence.

Falls City invested in their own health care needs in a process which took vast amounts of money and planning. It took this community and the surrounding area "buying" into their own well-being. The new hospital will be an asset to the health care professionals who provide the care and treatment of the area residents. The new hospital is 12 or 13 thousand more square feet that the current facility. It is one level (whoppee - no elevators). There are new and vastly improved patient care rooms. The labor and delivery suites will welcome the new residents in the area in style. The outpatient clinic for the specialty docs will be a whole new world versus the open hallway and overflow ER rooms used now. It also has a dedicated landing area for the medical helicopters.

In anticipation of the movers coming, we have all had assignments based on our departments. Truthfully, my little cubicle my other part/time job in billing is a very minuscule portion of the entire project. I have files to pack and manuals to pack. The working files are currently in boxes just awaiting the application of the moving location stickers and the required amount of tape. Desk supplies are in a shoe box as we have been working off card tables since the hardware from our current area had to be installed in our new cubicles in the past weeks. The IT team will be moving the computers, monitors and phones next weekend as well.

My billing cubicle will be in the northwest portion of the campus .(No, I didn't get a window LOL) But according to the new schedule of things, I will spend a part of my day in the new admissions area in the main entrance. I will get to be a greeter (admit clerk) for part of my new daytime schedule. (My friends at WF will get a giggle out of that since it is similar to giving a shout out to customers coming in to their lobby at West D. - Only thing is I don't have to try to sell anything here.)

While I am a peon and really more of an observer in the process, it still is a huge and complicated task. (Stress is a constant on the faces of many of my co-workers.) There are many, many rules that have to be strictly adhered to in moving equipment and supplies. Not to mention needing to move the patients who are needing hospitalization next weekend. They also have to have the surgical areas up and running within a day of the official opening. One location has to be closed before the other location can be opened. It is my understanding that has to do with licensing requirement for the medical and pharmacy side of things. Again, rules that have to be strictly followed.

Next weekend, at the dedication ceremony, I hope the political dignitaries who may attend will take the time to acknowledge all the workers who have been busting their fannies to make this move happen in a timely and efficient manner. While I understand how things work in the world of money and influence, I just hope there is some acknowledgment for those behind the scene folks like the maintenance team, the housekeepers, the dietary department, the IT team, the health information team, administrative assistants, purchasing, outpatient clinic, department managers, human resources, quality assurance, admission/business office team who have been busting their fannies for weeks (evening and weekends included) making certain that the behind the scene stuff gets accomplished for the move. This includes a boat load of training of where things are located in regards to the patient care and er areas for the medical and nursing staff. This is also to include all the employees in the diagnostic teams such as radiology and laboratory. There are also all the temporary employees that were hired to get everything ready. They will need to thank the professional emergency medical staffs - the paramedics and EMT's that will have to continue to function in and around the move.

While it is a little early for a New Year celebration - the "new" era of health care is right around the corner in southeastern Nebraska. It should prove to be interesting to say the least. For those who had the dream - the reality begins on Nov. 23, 2009.

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