Officials: Planning under way for new city hospital

Mike Erwin |
Constructed in 1965, the current Pawhuska Hospital facility may be replaced by a new facility with the next two years, according to local officals, who said a feasibility study is under way on the proposal.

The prognosis appears good for Pawhuska Hospital.

With an improved outlook and expectations for continued growth, officials of the city-owned facility recently announced plans to build a new hospital here.

“It looks like it could happen within the next two years,” said Cindy Tillman, Pawhuska Hospital’s director of special projects.

The hospital plan became public earlier this month in a report to the Pawhuska City Council.

“We’ve been excited about all the good things that have been going on at the hospital,” said Tillman, a Pawhuska City Council member.

The report cited dramatic increases in the public’s utilization of Pawhuska Hospital services. Godwin Fey, the director of patient care at the hospital, reported that patient totals had more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

The number of patient days increased from 739 last year to nearly 1,700 for 2016. (Those totals were for for corresponding January-September periods, according to the report.)

According to Fey, the hospital’s revenue improved proportionately to the patient traffic.

The increased patient load was largely attributed to services that were only recently offered at the hospital — especially enhancements to its “swingbed” programs for outpatient care.

Other hospital services cited involved physical and occupational therapy and geriatric psychiatric therapy.

Fey joined the local hospital staff 17 months ago as part of Carter Professional Services, an Edmond-based company that assumed management responsibilities at Pawhuska Hospital in the spring 2015.

The Carter group was hired after a longtime local agreement with Jane Phillips Medical Center was canceled, reportedly amid disputes about utilizing services at the Bartlesville hospital which could have provided locally.

A feasibility study on the hospital proposal is being formulated. The study had been ordered in October by the local hospital board — a panel of residents, which oversees the operation of Pawhuska Hospital. Late last week, local officials went to Kansas City to discuss the hospital feasibilty study and construction project.

Tillman said a new hospital facility probably would occupy the same site of the existing hospital — which is located at 1101 E. 15th St.

“I think it might in front of this one,” Tillman said.

The current Pawhuska Hosptital opened in 1965. It had been preceded by other facilities, as Pawhuska’s municipal hospital history dates back to 1923.