Fall occupancy projected for North Big Horn Hospital addition 

The clinic addition at North Big Horn Hospital and other hospital improvements are in the home stretch now, with many aspects nearing completion.

An expansive new lobby area, with a central desk for patient check-is, one of the key features of the North Big Horn Hospital Clinic addition.  Patti Carpenter photo
An expansive new lobby area, with a central desk for patient check-is, one of the key features of the North Big Horn Hospital Clinic addition.
Patti Carpenter photo

The clinic addition, which began construction about a year ago, expands the size of the facility, essentially doubling the number of patient exam and procedure rooms. The current square footage of the clinic limits the number of patients providers can see on a given day, creating longer than desired wait times. Additionally, it doesn’t allow for the district to hire more providers or to host more specialists on site, which would not only increase available services to patients, but increase revenue for the district, as well.

The addition also includes a completely new space for the physical and occupational therapy department. The new space, which is located upstairs in the addition, allocates much more space to the department than it currently has and includes an expansive space for therapists to work with patients. It also includes much more natural light and dramatic views of the mountains that are not a part of the current setup. Patients will have both stair and elevator access to the new facility.

A centralized entrance to both the hospital and clinic has also been created in the new addition. The new floor plan is efficiently arranged, allowing patients to get from one service to another in fewer steps. The centralized check-in at the main entrance will also be more efficient for both medical and administrative staff.

In spite of more than two months of delays at the beginning of the project getting surveys and plans approved by the backlogged State Dept. of Survey and Licensure, and more recently, delays caused by a mix-up that required reordering boilers for the project, the remodel has remained pretty much on schedule, according to hospital CEO Rick Shroeder.

Schroeder noted that the original schedule anticipated “substantial completion” in July, which he said is pretty much where the project is at as of this week. He said, with the exception of the boilers, which will most likely be received in two separate shipments over the next several weeks (housing first, then burners), everything else is on schedule and should be ready for inspection soon.

The clinic addition at North Big Horn Hospital is nearing completion, with an expected occupancy date sometime in the fall. Patti Carpenter photo
The clinic addition at North Big Horn Hospital is nearing completion, with an expected occupancy date sometime in the fall.
Patti Carpenter photo

To date, most of the downstairs portion of the clinic addition is substantially complete, with some finishes still in progress. The upstairs physical therapy area is also progressing on schedule, with no major delays forecast for the near future.

The funding for the $5.2 million project comes from a combination of sources, including a long-term savings plan, grants and a 10-year financing program through bonds. A special contingency fund has kept the budget in check.

Schroeder said, though it’s hard to pin down an exact date the addition will open at this stage of the project, he expects it to be ready for occupancy sometime in mid to late September. He said an open house will most likely be held for the community at that time.

“We are really excited about the new space,” said Schroeder.  “We are looking forward to better flow and it will be nice to not have the workflow stymied by the space.  Right now two providers share three rooms. It will be so nice not to have that situation anymore. This is sure to be a big improvement and will no doubt create an overall better patient experience.”

In addition to the current remodel, the New Horizons Care Center has been upgrading to new energy-efficient windows and new carpet over the past several months. Schroeder said the fact that the district could use the same contractors for both projects brought the projects at the Care Center to completion much sooner than if they were standalone projects.

By Patti Carpenter