Not Just Fancy Upgrades

Recently, a local resident shared her opinion regarding the very complex pricing structure that hospitals, insurance companies, and others deal with to provide healthcare. This woman asked if Humboldt General Hospital was willing to invest in the right things and “reject fancy upgrades that enhance the looks of a facility but add nothing to actual medical care.” We assume this woman was referring to the hospital’s five-phase expansion plan, which began in 2010 and will finish in 2017. Certainly, we love the aesthetic appeal of our expanded and remodeled space, but we vehemently disagree that it adds nothing to actual medical care. For example, with the construction of the medical office building that came in 2010, HGH added a Walk-In Clinic, general and orthopedic surgeons who are available 24/7, two nurse practitioners, and a rural residency clinic that this year will bring three new doctors to Winnemucca—all because there was space to welcome them. Following, HGH completed an expansion/remodel of the Acute patient wing, which eliminated double-occupancy rooms, privacy and infection control issues, and allowed us computer capabilities in rooms that we did not have before. Plus, because of that expansion, we were able to provide space for hospitalists—inpatient physicians who allow us to keep more patients in Winnemucca, near their homes. Next came our new memory care facility. In any given year, we have to transfer at least a dozen memory-impaired patients to facilities outside our county and even our state because we have no way to care for them. And what about phases 4 and 5, which create a centralized rural clinic for expanded patient care, and expand the OB, ER and OR departments? It would take us a month to explain all the benefits to patient care and outcomes that those expansions will bring. But here’s just a quick example: the OB and OR departments will now be connected. What does that mean for a mom who needs an emergency C-section? Life. That’s what it means. It means we have a higher chance of saving both her life and the life of her child. We did that because we know that when things go wrong, every second counts. We appreciate that people have their own thoughts regarding our expansion. Whatever those are, however, we ask that local residents do not classify our efforts to greatly expand and improve patient care into “fancy upgrades.” These are investments to save both life and quality of life and they will benefit our community for at least two generations to come!

--Jim Parrish, CEO/Administrator, Humboldt General Hospital