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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

Surgical suite 80 percent complete; project passes TDSHS inspection
Houston County Courier


By Jenna Duncan
News Reporter

In just eight months, the 10,000 square foot space attached to ETMC Crockett has transformed from four walls, a roof and a dirt floor into the shell of the new surgical center. On Wednesday, Aug. 29 the project passed Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) 80 percent completion check, and is slated to be done in November, well ahead of the contract’s deadline of Dec. 31. “Everything is up, they hit the mark of everything’s complete up to that point, and once it gets to 100 percent [TDSHS] will come out and do another inspection,” ETMC Crockett Administrator Terry Cutler said. The new facility boasts three operating rooms, each about double the size of the current two, pre- and post-op areas, and rooms for sterilization, storage, locker and office space. In the current surgical section of the hospital, there are two operating rooms that are about half the size of the new ones, and a lot less space. “We have an OR that’s just outdated. Is it still functional? Yes, it’s functional, but it’s outdated,” Cutler said of the current facilities. While it can be hard to distinguish what the surgical center will look like at this point in construction, Cutler said the building is “almost identical” to ETMC Trinity, except Crockett’s facility is larger. “All of this has a step in time to go in,” Cutler said. “You can’t have one thing unless you have something else, it’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and they make it seem pretty easy.” One of the more complicated parts will be ceilings in the operating rooms, which are currently uncovered and expose several air conditioning ducts and have a large structure hanging in the middle to hold the light. “There will be a ceiling that’s actually built just for OR, and it will have all the gases and oxygen and everything will go up in this ceiling for anesthesia and everything,” Cutler explained. Two of the rooms are fit for general operations, and the third will be specifically equipped for obstetrics. This type of surgery requires different equipment, but the room can be used for other types of general surgery. Conveniently, the specialized operating room is closest to the Labor and Delivery wing. The building will have multiple entrances to help accessibility, like from the Labor and Delivery wing and the Intensive Care Unit. Construction on the project was made easier by the fact that walls and a roof were already in place and shielded crews from any weather delays. The facade was built previously with funds from the Houston County Hospital District, with plans to expand the ICU or add a new wing, Cutler said. “It was one of those thought processes that reached further back,” he said. “HCHD made some of those decisions and thought back then that this could be surgery, so it’s kind of a cooperative where ETMC controls and does all the building out because they lease the facility, then HCHD has acquired the funds from taxes and the (Upper Payment Limit).” The $4.5 million dollar project was able to be completed because of Medicaid’s Upper Payment Limit (UPL) matching grant program that covers the costs of construction, labor and equipment. About $1 million of Houston County Hospital District funds are part of the $4.5 million total. With the ongoing national and state changes in healthcare, Cutler said he isn’t sure what the surgical center will be like in five years, but is sure it will be put to good use. “This facility is going to continue to strive for quality and move forward in treating patients,” he said. “We’ll always have patients – I think that’s the one thing you can say. In five years we’ll still have patients coming to healthcare facilities.”


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