Pawhuska Hospital plans to expand out patient services

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Plans for enhancing the public appearance of Pawhuska Hospital are not designed as window dressing, although window dressing may accompany the plans.

Expansion of outpatient services and additional programs to increase customer traffic were discussed as part of the recent announcements about the local facility’s future growth.

Hospital Administrator Godwin Fey said the plans call for expanding the scope of practices that are already offered here (including X-rays and CTs as well as occupational and speech therapy and other rehabilitative services). Increasing the number of acute care patients is another possibility, Fey said.

A wound-care specialist will return to the hospital’s staff within the next few months, according to Fey. He also anticipates growth of the hospital’s caregiver program.

A new outpatient program to be implemented is Senior Life Solutions, which uses group therapy to help patients through geriatric situations, including depression, the adminstrator said.

Fey said the expanded local services are expected to add three new jobs at the hospital by the end of September.

During a meeting last week, hospital staff was updated on plans for expanding local outpatient services. According to Pawhuska Hospital officials, the expansion of programs will involve some restructuring of personnel.

In conjunction with its plans for expanding short-term program services, the hospital’s outpatient registration will now be located at the back emergency entrance, officials added.

The July 11 meeting also afforded staff members an opportunity to express their ideas and/or concerns about the hospital projects, the officials said.

It was the first full staff meeting since Carter Professional Care took over the day-to-day management of the hospital in June 2015.

The Edmond-based Carter group was brought in following the termination of Pawhuska Hospital’s longstanding management contract with Bartlesville’s Jane Phillips Medical Center. Fey arrived here in May, replacing an interim director from the Carter team, Shaun Beggs.

Improving the dialogue between hospital staff and management is only one of the steps being taken to facilitate the hospital’s growth via better communication.

“We’re talking to other area hospitals and nursing homes about referring patients for our swingbed program,” the local administrator said.

The outpatient program can involve a wide variety of services — like physical therapy and the administering of antibiotics.

Fey said the local swingbed program is respnsible for a substantional portion of Pawhuska Hospital’s overall patient growth.

After logging 403 patient days in all of 2015, Pawhuska patient-days total for this year, through May 31, already is at 925 patient days, according to Fey.

Cosmetic changes are currently being made on the hospital’s exterior. New signage is also being installed to help direct patients to the facility’s different program areas.

Construction projects may be required later as the expanded programs take shape, the administrator added.