New digs require changes



September 25, 2013 - 12:00 AM

The transfer of equipment and systems to the new Allen County Regional Hospital requires a myriad of coordinates; all the while keeping the doors open for business.
“As we close the doors to the emergency room at 101 S. First, we’ll be opening the doors to the emergency room at 3066 N. Kentucky,” the site of the new hospital, said Ron Baker, chief executive officer.
The projected Oct. 29 move is on track, but “just by a thread,” Baker told hospital trustees at their meeting Tuesday night.
“There are so many interconnecting parts to move in and on time,” Baker said. “If anything hiccups in the middle of this, we could be forced to delay the move.”
“Plan B” is to schedule the move for Nov. 5, but that creates problems of it own, Baker said, noting all participants must be notified of the change 30 days in advance; in other words, next week.
A T1 line for Internet capabilities has been installed, as have the majority of phone lines. The hospital’s fire alarm system and oxygen tank warning system also rely on telephone connectivity, Baker said.
With less than six weeks to go, staff is “decommissioning” certain pieces of equipment in the current hospital to be installed in the new hospital, Baker said.

WORKING in the new hospital will also require a readjustment of the workflow.
“The building is really going to be quite different and will have a profound impact on how we operate,” Baker said.
In admissions, for example, two desks need to be staffed during the daytime; one in the front lobby, the other by the emergency entrance. After regular hours, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the ER admissions desk will continue to be staffed.
Currently, the office at the front of hospital handles all admissions, including those admitted to the ER.
One-third of all admissions come through the emergency room, Baker said, which prompted him to suggest the person staffing that desk would be given additional responsibilities during slow times.
“We have an average of one admission from midnight to 3 a.m.,” he said. “It is not a time of high productivity. Some nights no one comes in, other nights we’ll have maybe three.”

LARRY PETERSON, chief financial officer for the hospital, said outpatient use was  “very strong” and making up for a less-than-expected number of inpatients at the hospital. Inpatients are those who spend the night.
Patients using the hospital’s skilled care services have increased, he said. Such services include wound care, administration of intravenous antibiotics, and occupational and physical therapies.

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