New facility the right direction for hospital

Chase County Community Hospital board members took a bold step when they voted unanimously to pursue building a new hospital versus remodeling and adding on to the existing facility. We believe they made the right decision.
    For a number of years, discussions have been going on about what direction the facility should take. In fact, in September 2012, the board voted 4-1 to pursue a $13 million renovation and expansion project.
    Shortly thereafter, the board made a change in the leadership at the hospital followed by a board vote to do a further review of the project. That essentially put the project on hold.
    An interim administrator restarted the planning process which was picked up by present CEO Steve Lewis.
    The hospital board did it right­­—the decision rendered April 27 was by no means a snap decision.
    A comprehensive strategic planning process completed by the board led them to the next step of selecting a consulting and design firm to further study options and costs.
    Among the things they learned is that people are voting with their feet by seeking health care outside of Chase County. No real big surprise there.
    On a positive note, they learned Chase County and the area served by the hospital stands poised for growth and an up-to-date hospital facility would play a key role in fostering that growth.
    They also learned about the limitations of the existing facility and the work needed to bring it up to code once the first wall was moved.
    All said and done, the board learned a remodel and expansion project is estimated to cost $2.37 million more than a new facility. The cost for a new facility was estimated at $22 million. Granted, that’s no small change.

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