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Jackson County Hospital begins $4.5 million project

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
June 14, 2010 at 1:14 a.m.


EDNA - Conferences and training sometimes required Jackson County Hospital staff to roll a patient bed out of a room just to hold a meeting.

While the rural hospital has few staff - seven full-time providers and 23 nurses - the conditions and 13 beds crowded and oftentimes frustrated.

"Profoundly inefficient all the way around," said Asa Wilson, hospital administrator and chief executive officer. "You had a need for personnel, but no place to put them."

The Jackson County Hospital District broke ground last week on Phase II of a three-year expansion project. The project, expected to cost $4.5 million, will triple the size of the current facility and include a new emergency room, administrative offices and other needed facilities.

Much of the staff work out of old patient rooms that were converted to office space, and the building hadn't undergone many updates since it was built in 1973.

"The design is that of 1973 and it doesn't fit the needs of the community today," said Donna Coleman, hospital director of professional services.

Denise Palacios is an Edna resident who frequents the hospital because of a 13-year-old son who plays sports. He said he believes the improvements were much needed.

"It's about time that they've gotten an actual doctor's office," she said.

Palacios said sometimes during football games, the three-bed emergency room filled to capacity with players.

"I think it's good because people will actually want to come to the hospital," she said. "You can actually go to the hospital in your own town and not in another town."

Along with the expansion comes a new surgical department. The hospital's board of directors approved May 27 final details of a plan to hire a full-time surgeon.

Clinton Tegeler, director of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, said such improvements will enhance quality of life in the area.

"People know that they're going to be taken care of by these new facilities and I think that's what people look for when they move to a place," he said.

The improvements are a part of an $8 million three-year expansion plan, which is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The Phase II development closely follows the February completion of Phase I, which included a new medical clinic and pharmacy.

Phase II will take about a year to complete.

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