Cosmetic Surgery

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 20, 2004

Sometimes even a hospital needs medical attention.

Construction plans are currently being finalized on the $3 million facelift of Crenshaw Community Hospital.

&uot;Right now the building committee of the board is having the construction manager negotiate with a company to see if we can build the project within budget," Hospital Administrator Allen Gamble said. "Within a month, we should know from that whether or not we’re going to use that company and proceed with the construction.&uot;

The renovation will include a 9,400 square foot emergency room/clinic building, which will eat up about $2 million of the allotted funds. Gamble believes the new emergency room wing will help with organization and be cost effective to hospital patients.

&uot;The main piece of the project is the emergency room and it will provide more efficient and quicker treatment in the emergency department. It will be a combination of an emergency room and clinic, so if people come in and just need to see the clinic staff as opposed to the emergency room, it will save them some money by being able to go in the same entrance, have their needs assessed and then put into the clinic or taken into the emergency department.

&uot;The rest of the additions will help with the efficient flow of patients through the business process; the registration, billing, getting them where they need to go in terms of outpatient care quicker and smoother.&uot;

The current emergency room is less than 1,000 square feet and consists of two rooms. The new ER will feature a special trauma room and several exam rooms around the nurse's station.

The waiting room area in the main lobby of the hospital will be expanded. The room currently seats about 15 family members and visitors. The new addition will house 40 people.

&uot;From time-to-time when we get a lot of family members or a big family and they have to sit out in the lobby, it gets kind of crowded," Gamble said. "There’s not a lot of privacy and it’s so narrow it’s hard to move around in there.&uot;

Also included in the renovation is the addition of an atrium-type entrance that will give the hospital a more modern look. A new dietary department will also be added including new appliances and a serving area.

&uot;I think a lot of it is perception," Gamble said. "People see an older building and they think they’ve got to go somewhere where it’s newer. We’re hoping by showing that it is newer people will come in and see all the new equipment that we’ve got, all the up-to-date lab and X-ray that we’ve added in the past two years and realize that they can get the best care right here at home. They don’t have to drive to Montgomery or Dothan to get care.&uot;

In attempts to help better serve its patients and visitors, additional parking will also be added in front of the hospital and a covered entrance will also be constructed. Gamble said some of the existing interior of the hospital would also be painted.

Gamble said the bids that have come in for the construction project have been over budget. He believes it's a direct result of supply and demand due to all the construction taking place in the U.S. and around the world.

&uot;A lot of construction cost is going up because of a lot of construction being built in the U.S. and over seas, which is driving the prices up," he said. "Steel is all going up because of a lot of building in China, which is buying up all the steel and concrete prices are going up for whatever reasons.&uot;

In addition to cosmetic renovations, the hospital also plans to replace some of its lab equipment with "modern, up-to-date" equipment. This includes the addition of in house ultrasound.

The Crenshaw Community Hospital Board will meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. to discuss the multi-million dollar project as well as hold usual business.

&uot;Next Tuesday is just a regular board meeting, the building committee will report where they are at, but at this point we won’t have any more firm pricing until they get through talking to this contractor," Gamble said. "They’re going to give that person three weeks to come up with what their pricing will be, so we won’t have an answer at this board meeting. We should hopefully have enough information to make a decision on where we’re going.&uot;