Pullman hospital plans expansion

AP

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PULLMAN - Same-day service rooms will nearly double at Pullman Regional Hospital in a project that will expand the facility's footprint for the first time since its construction in 2004.

Hospital CEO Scott Adams said an increase in volume with the recent addition of a fourth surgery room was driving the need for the upgrade, along with a shift in health care toward increased outpatient procedures.

"With additional surgical capacity we were going to overcrowd same-day services," Adams said. "We needed a plan to expand."

A two-story, $3 million, 10,000-square-foot addition will rest on the 95,000-square-foot facility's south end, between the Emergency Department and the Intensive Care Unit. Ten same-day service rooms will be located on the lower floor - bringing the hospital's total to 22.

A variety of procedures are performed in the rooms, such as transfusions, Adams said.

"It won't feel so hectic," he said.

The hospital expansion should go to bid in February. Construction is expected to begin in April, and the project is expected to be completed at about this time next year, with operation of the expanded services expected to begin in 2019.

Adams said funding for the project is comprised of $2 million from the hospital's budget and about $1 million from private donations and the hospital's foundation.

Like funding for the hospital's fourth surgery room, Adams said Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories founder Ed Schweitzer and his wife, Beatriz Schweitzer, were significant donors to this project.

Outpatients account for about 95 percent of hospital patients and 70 percent of the hospital's revenue annually, Adams said.

"That's surgery, X-rays, CT scans. That's lab tests, coming to the ER, having blood transfusions, physical therapy, that accounts for about 70 percent of our revenue."

With increased capacity of those services, volume and revenue into the hospital is expected to increase, while costs to patients will remain the same, Adams said.

"We expect to recoup the cost through increased utilization."

The hospital's staff is not anticipated to grow directly because of the expansion. But hospital officials expect to hire more employees as the number of procedures it performs increases, Adams said.

The extra space in the addition is part of the hospital's plan to be ready for growth. A variety of possibilities are being considered, but the hospital hasn't yet decided how the space will be used.

"We're developing plans for additional expansion needs, such as space for physician practices, a family medicine residency program ... community education and professional development, and alternative ways for providing care, like telemedicine," Adams said. "Those are all ideas that are being thought through."

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Babcock may be contacted at jbabcock@lmtribune.com or at (509) 339-3423.

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