MARYSVILLE – This fall, a monumental step on the timeline of Memorial Health will occur with the groundbreaking for construction of a $50 million expansion and renovation of Memorial Hospital of Marysville. The project involves construction of two buildings, both an inpatient pavilion and an outpatient pavilion on the main campus at 500 London Ave. in Marysville.
Funding will come from a variety of sources, including existing cash, bonds, bank financing, and donations received during the Memorial 2020 Capital Campaign, now underway. No tax dollars will be used to fund the project. While Memorial Health is county-owned, it does not receive any tax dollars for operations or capital projects and has not for decades.
Community hospitals are faced with the challenge of providing high quality care on shrinking profit margins, through aging facilities. Competition from large health systems and decreasing numbers of hospital admissions have resulted in the closing of many of Memorial’s counterparts, while others are absorbed by larger systems.
Memorial has faced the same challenges, but has forged a path to success during the past 15 years. Through forward-thinking, fiercely independent leadership, Memorial Health has bucked national trends and established an impressive record of growth.
“Memorial 2020 has been carefully and thoughtfully planned, to properly position Memorial Hospital to serve future generations,” said Chip Hubbs, president and CEO of Memorial Health.
“We have been very focused on evaluating our financial health after the project is complete to assure we will remain a financially stable, independent hospital. That is clearly a priority for our hospital and county leaders.” He adds that the installation of more efficient electrical, heating, cooling, and mechanical systems will lower operating costs while improving patient comfort.
According to Hubbs, after a careful analysis by leadership and the hospital’s Board of Trustees, all agreed to keep Memorial Hospital at its current location near uptown Marysville. Expanding and renovating the current main campus proved to be significantly more cost-effective than building a completely new structure. Hence, Memorial sold the property along Route 33 purchased in 2009 back to The Scotts Company in 2016. Work on the hospital campus will occur in phases to minimize disruption to current services.
Vacated parts of hospital to be repurposed
When asked about plans for vacated parts of the existing hospital, Hubbs said most areas will be renovated and repurposed. “Only our current medical/surgical unit will be vacated. And at this point, we are choosing to take a wait and see stance on this space. Perhaps a new purpose for its use by Memorial following a significant renovation will come to light.”
The most significant issue impacting patient comfort now is the lack of privacy. The main hallway, the path for transport of patients, is also shared by staff and visitors. Patient comfort and privacy in the updated facility will include non-public areas for patient transport. Every inpatient room will be private with an attached restroom and shower, too, something not considered necessary when the original facility was built more than 60 years ago. These rooms are large and designed to comfortably accommodate visitors and family members.
Maximizing the level of care by hospital staff was also a cornerstone in design. Workstations are located near each room for electronic record charting and centralized space on each floor is dedicated to care planning collaboration between doctors, nurses, pharmacy and other members of the clinical team.
“Healing and wellness are our goals for care and every detail has been evaluated to optimize that. We can no longer meet the needs and expectations of modern healthcare patients while delivering services in a facility designed in 1950,” said Dr. Victor Trianfo, Chief Medical Officer of Memorial Health. “The current physical environment in the hospital is not consistent with Memorial’s high-quality care and cutting edge technology.”
The work will begin this fall on the inpatient pavilion, which will include a spacious lobby, conference area, retail shop, and cafeteria. Two floors in the pavilion will include multi-purpose rooms for hospitalized patients. These will feature a flexible design, to be customized for the specific needs of each patient, whether intensive care, observation or medical/surgical care.
The lower level will be designed specifically for Information Technology, Plant Operations, and other support services.
Memorial 2020 is carefully planned for the medical needs of today, when outpatient medical care is increasing. For this reason, fewer rooms will be set aside for inpatients – because outpatient care is now more common.
A new outpatient pavilion will provide space for specialty providers and a dedicated patient drop-off area. It will be a hub of activity with relocated services including the Wellness Center, the Specialty Care Center, Pain Management, the Medication Therapies Clinic, Occupational Therapy registration and lab draw.
Oncology services to expand
Though details are not yet complete, an expansion of oncology services is in the works, too, including increased chemotherapy space designed in a communal setting with natural light to improve patient comfort.
In this new outpatient area, patient registration and access to services will see vast improvements. Even greater levels of privacy during the registration process and more comfortable waiting areas are on the horizon.
One additional positive side effect of the facility enhancement is that Memorial 2020 will help draw new physicians to practice here, making it easier to add new specialties as community needs evolve.
In 1952, the community rallied to bring quality access to its residents. “Sixty-five years later, it is time to repeat history, and ensure quality care for the next, many generations,” commented Hubbs. “As with the funding of the original hospital structure, community support is essential.”
A goal has been set to raise $4 million through donations from Memorial Health board members, physicians, employees, businesses and the public. To date, just over $2 million has already been raised in what officials have termed their “silent phase,” reaching out to internal stakeholders and those closest to the organization. “We hope that everyone will see the great benefit of taking healthcare to the next level in our region and want to join us in support,” said Hubbs. “Our folks in the Memorial Health Foundation office are working hard to reach the target and they’d love to talk to families, groups and individuals about how to get involved.”