Women’s health suite to cover 4,500 square feet

Good Shepherd Medical Center construction officials — from left, Mark Ettesvold, David Hughes, Tyson Furstenberg and Doug Paine — talk in the space that will become the women's health center. The center is one of four construction projects the hospital will undertake over the next 120 days.

At a total cost of $1.16 million, Good Shepherd Medical Center will complete four construction projects over the next four months.

The largest of the projects brings together a comprehensive suite of women’s health offices on the first floor of the Good Shepherd Medical Plaza. The 4,500 square-foot suite will host offices and examination rooms for four OB/GYN practitioners, as well as a gynecological specialty procedure room, an ultrasound room and an on-site laboratory.

“You need never set foot in the hospital if you come in here,” Good Shepherd Public Relations Director Mark Ettesvold said. “This suite will have everything for women’s health except mammograms.”

Although Good Shepherd currently has two OB/GYNs on staff, the suite will allow the medical center to recruit two additional practitioners. Each doctor will have his or her own nursing staff, but all four offices will share a common lobby and receptionists.

The space will help fill an existing and expanding need, according to David Hughes, hospital senior vice president.

“We do more OB than any hospital our size,” Hughes said. “We’re doing 550 babies a year, and The Dalles, which is three times our size, is only doing 300. This is driven by demand.”

Directly below the women’s health suite, on the ground floor of the plaza, work will also begin soon on a new cardio and pulmonary rehabilitation unit.

“This project is in response to the patient focus groups from last December and some telephone surveys we did,” Ettesvold said. “The No. 1 response was cardio. Similar to chemotherapy, cardio and pulmonary are some of the services least conducive to travel. It can be really hard on people to drive after (treatment), so having it here at home will be a huge benefit.”

At 18,000 square feet, the cardio unit will include exercise and monitoring equipment for physical rehabilitation for people who have suffered a lung or cardiac event, such as heart attack or injury. The unit marks a return for the program, which was closed in 2005 because of federal restrictions from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“CMS said that we had to have a doctor on the premises, and we couldn’t afford to have a cardiologist sitting in here full time. It’s not a good use of his time,” Hughes said. “Six months ago, CMS changed their mind about that and said as long as you are within 250 yards of a physician — in this case, the emergency room — go ahead and do it.”

The other two construction projects both involve technology, including a new primary server room with its own backup power supply. The server room will be airtight and sealed in order to use a gas-based fire suppression system so computer equipment would not be damaged by water during a fire.

The final project will install a computer training room next to the server area.

All four projects will break ground simultaneously on Monday, although only the server room will involve moving dirt.

“A lot of what we’re talking about for this project is in here (the Medical Plaza). For the average person, what they’ll see, is a lot of digging,” maintenance manager Doug Paine said. “We’ll begin trenching for new data communication and power lines for the new server room.”

The parking lot behind the plaza will be disrupted for two weeks while lines are put in place.

All four projects will operate on a 120-day schedule and should be completed in June.

“It’s always fun going into a new construction phase,” Paine said. “There are always challenges that you don’t know about until you begin, but it’s exciting.”

The projects fill all un-designated space in the plaza building. The open areas include space for the home health program, to begin construction next year, as well as 3,000 square feet of space on the first and second floors for physician office spaces.

When those office spaces fill, the hospital will expand the plaza building with a two-story, 10-office complex already designed.

“We’re ahead of the curve at the moment. All we need now is the doctors,” Hughes said. “We will keep growing as the city grows. I can’t imagine a time when we will not be recruiting doctors.”

Good Shepherd’s next major construction project will begin March 7 with a five-stage dietary program kitchen expansion and renovation.

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