Construction of Women’s Center at Bluffton Hospital Moving Right Along

   A little over a year ago, a major announcement occurred when plans for a Women’s Center were unveiled by Bluffton Hospital – plans currently under construction inside the walls of the facility.
   A few notable updates have been made as the project enters into the final few months of its projected completion. 
   The new diagnostics center, which includes a radiology lab and electrocardiogram (EKG), officially opened for business on Jan. 31. While it’s only been a couple of weeks time, Chris Keller, Bluffton Hospital chief administrative officer, said the opening of the diagnostics center has gone over really well.
   “It’s a little early to tell [about the new diagnostics center]. We feel good about it but can’t really report numbers yet. We do know the space works extremely well,” Keller said.
   Other items that have been finished in regards to the Women’s Center at the hospital include a new nurse call system in the obstetrics unit and the new security unit for obstetrics, called the “Hugs and Kisses” system, which entered into final testing just recently. It’s a security system where mother and baby have a band, and the bands are electronically monitored on the floor. If the band gets too close to any of the exits, an alarm will go off. This is to prevent any baby from being taken from the hospital.
   Currently, the Garau Street entrance to the hospital is closed for construction of the medical spa, which was named a couple of months ago – Beyond Medspa. The Medspa will have laser procedures, skin services and massage, among other options.
   However, when the Garau Street entrance reopens, it will only be for rehab and Medspa patients. All other patient traffic has been permanently redirected to the ER entrance, according to Keller.
Because of this change, all of the signage for the hospital will eventually be reworked.
   “Once all this gets shaken out, main entrance signage will point to the emergency department/Kibler Street side,” Ryan Shoemaker, BVHS director of facility and support services, added.
   The hospital has approval to demolish a house next to Bluffton Women’s Care, located on the corner of Garau Street and Harmon Road.   The demolition will be done to make room for additional hospital parking. The expanded parking should be finished around April or May, depending on the weather, according to Shoemaker. The lot behind Dr. Schutz’s office will integrate into the expanded hospital parking as well.
   The expansion of the OR department, so the daVinci robot can be installed and robotic surgery can be performed, will be done in – June  that’s the point when the whole project should be wrapped up, Keller said. Types of surgery that can be done here include robotic hysterectomy and other GYN robotic procedures.
   Overall, while reflecting on the process of installing the Women’s Center at the hospital Keller said, “The project, from a construction standpoint, has gone fairly well, knock on wood. We’re still on schedule, and we’re still on budget. Those are two really good things. This is an older building, so it’s not without its surprises, but, for the most part, we’ve been able to work through those issues and everything is going as planned.”
   The hospital officials said it is important to note that Bluffton Hospital is not losing any of its services, and the addition of the Women’s Center is quite literally just an addition – all the services that have always been will remain.
   The existing clinics at Bluffton Hospital include pain management; general/colorectal surgery; ear, nose and throat; cardiology; and gastroenterology. Other services the hospital offers are an orthopedic clinic with Dr. Jim Davidson and a new oncology clinic with Dr. Henry Gerad, both being fairly new additions.
   “The premise behind this plan [of the Women’s Center] was to keep our promise to the Bluffton community that we would maintain the appropriate level of health care services in this community, and in order to do that, we felt we needed to grow in some areas and create a niche for ourselves to attract more business to Bluffton and support that cause,” Keller said. 
   Keller continued to say that the community and the village have been very supportive of the requests that have been brought to them, so the hospital is very pleased with how that has gone.  “We’ve had overwhelming support from the community,” Keller said.