One of the initial requests I had after coming on board with WMC was to freshen up our logo. Not to offend fans of the old logo, but it was a little dated. The mountains were pixelated, the water didn't quite mesh with the image, and quite frankly, I wasn't a fan of the color scheme. And if anyone can correctly identify the mountain in the image, comment below and I'll give the first correct answer a now vintage WMC logo'd hoodie.
Numerous attempts to clean up the logo by 3Fold, SEARHC's contracted marketing firm, fell flat. In the 10-plus years since the logo's inception, the necessary files for updating the image had fell through the cracks. In short - the whole dang thing would have to be re-created, and at some point, is it really worth saving?
So we scrapped it.
Drumroll, please. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our new logo.
If anyone didn't know we were SEARHC, they do now. And it's important for our patients to know of our affiliation. It's important that they know we're a part of Southeast's premier healthcare provider. It's a good thing, especially given the nation's healthcare climate, to be a member of the SEARHC Care Network.
And I love the logo for WMC. The devils club, the color scheme, the simplicity. I can already see it as a sign, lit up on the side of the road. You'll be seeing this new logo a lot, plastered on every piece of WMC documentation and media, be it digital or print. If there's one thing besides healthcare that SEARHC is serious about, it's branding. Prepare to see the new WMC brand popping up everywhere.
So we've talked a bit about the Long Term Care and the courtyard. I'd like to take a quick look at what's happening in the front of the building, namely the Acute/ED/Imaging area.
These departments will see quite the difference in layout compared the the current building. Looking at the right of the above floorplan, you will see Imaging in purple (which my son informed me is actually lavender). Opposed to the straight shot of connected rooms that patients are served in now, the department will actually boast of a dedicated hallway. Multiple restrooms/changing areas will be offered, along with indoor CT scans. That's right, no more getting wheeled outside and up a lift. If you'll be in the market for a CT trailer in a couple years, SEARHC may have one for sale at that point.
In the left of the image, in blue, is the Acute Care wing. Many have questioned this layout, as it offers only four acute rooms. WMC currently offers eight. There's a reason for this, as I've touched upon in previous posts. Data has shown that over the course of the year (about 95% of the time) WMC does not serve more than four acute patients at one time. In fact, the average per day is 2.2 acute patients, with 3.7 patients per day seen during surge times. In short, rarely do we need more than four rooms. But for handful of times we do need five or more beds, these rooms will flex to serve two-per-room, or eight total patients. SEARHC has mentioned potential expansion of the acute wing in the future, and Wold Architects have designed the wing for easy expansion when needed.
That brings us to Emergency. What we're working with at the current facility can get cramped at times. Wold has made the efforts to include not only all ED staff in design discussions for this area, but our local EMTs as well.
In addition to the two-bed Trauma room, the wing has a separate procedure room and a handful of those handy flex rooms. They can flex for additional trauma usage, observation, infusion, wound care, whatever we need.
At the bottom of the above image, you'll see the EMT/Flex. No longer will our EMT's be forced to gather in the halls, as they'll have a dedicated space to better serve our patients. That space will also double for viewing. It was agreed that the current viewing/morgue experience could really be improved upon. SEARHC and Wold is going to offer a more pleasant area for families to have that important time, which will also make our volunteer EMT's lives quite a bit easier.
Below is a bulleted list of Acute/ED/Imaging highlights from the design update. Again, if you want to take a look at the latest design update presentation, you can download it here. Thanks for reading.
October is gone. WMC is in the SEARHC network now. But what does that mean?
If you were to walk into Wrangell Medical Center today, to have your candy-hangover monitored or just to say hi, you would see that the transition would have little-to-no impact on your patient experience. It means patient billing would start being processed by SEARHC. It would mean some employees will have different job titles. It would mean those employees will have SEARHC, and not the city, on the hook for their paychecks. Other than that, it's just like any other day.
SEARHC Executive VP Dan Neumeister has said, since the beginning, that the goal was always to provide the same services to the community. He has also went on record stating that the hospital will keep the WMC name.
Most importantly, Neumeister has been adamant that they're not going to swoop in and inject SEARHC operations into WMC. They've acknowledged that hospitals, like communities, are unique. SEARHC has said many times that they will look at WMC operations to see if SEARHC can take anything away to improve as a healthcare provider. For example, prior to the today, SEARHC has no Long Term Care experience. We're the only LTC in their network. With a few consecutive years of quality awards under our belt, our LTC will be a great foundation for SEARHC to learn from and build upon.
Now, the SEARHC signage may start popping up at the hospital soon. Patients will probably notice some building upgrades in the coming weeks to months, including flat screens advertising SEARHC promotions and upcoming events. Staff has already been treated to a much-needed new phone system and brand new computers. Let's not forget about the new hospital they promised, with a plan to break ground in the spring and cut the ribbon in late 2020.
But for now, it's the same ol' WMC. The same smiling staff offering the same services to the community. SEARHC is just signing the checks now.
Sometime this evening, the SEARHC Board will stamp the transaction with its final approval. Wrangell's voters and Assembly have already gave their approval. On Nov. 1st, WMC staff will have a new signer on their paychecks.
Aside from tweaking a couple job titles, it should remain largely business as usual at the hospital. WMC will continue to provide the same services with the same staff. Our island will continue offering a level of healthcare that small communities, like Wrangell, can usually only dream of.
So that leads to a big question. SEARHC is building us a new hospital. When will that new hospital be open for business? For that answer, let's dissect the timeline portion of the last design update.
If you were at the community update in September, what you saw was the latest schematic design. If you want to take a look at that presentation in pdf form, it can be viewed here. The architects from Wold will be back next week, continuing the Design Development phase - which they describe as "figuring out where the light switches and outlets are gonna' go." While it's obviously not that simple, it paints a pretty clear picture of how far along in the design process we actually are.
Design should be done by the end of the year. SEARHC has stated that they don't want to miss out on the construction season and will get this out to bid as soon as possible. That would mean breaking ground in the spring of next year.
If they are able to meet those mileposts, SEARHC is hoping to cut the ribbon on the new joint campus on Wood Street January of 2021. It has even been mentioned in public meetings that December of 2020 is an ideal date to start seeing patients in the new facility.
As part of the transition, SEARHC has taken on financial responsibility of the current WMC facility. As you may have heard, after 50 years of service, the hospital is on its last legs. Some would say it's cheating death, and it's just a matter of time before some big ticket items start to fail. Big ticket items that will no longer be the responsibility of the City and Borough of Wrangell. Those will get fixed using SEARHC's checkbook. Given that, expect SEARHC to keep moving forward to ensure the project adheres to the above timeline.
As the design of the new healthcare campus has evolved, some square footage has been added. Discussions with WMC staff has brought to light certain work-flow needs that needed to be considered, and Wold A&E has been working tirelessly to address any concerns in departmental design.
The most obvious area of addition, when looking at the floorplan, is the hallway connecting the Long Term Care wing with our mechanical area. This corridor will now house dietary and linen services, along with providing a straight shot from those areas to the shipping dock.
The byproduct of that addition is an open-air space, not quite the size of a basketball court, smack-dab in the center of the hospital area. This courtyard will serve many purposes, and is a design addition that provides much needed access to fresh air and natural light for the new complex.
Early conceptual designs had the hospital wing of the new campus looking less doughnut-like (bottom image) and more horseshoe-ish (top image). An open area was always in the plans, but as the new corridor was added, Wold insisted on leaving the open space for specific design purposes.
For one, the east-facing resident rooms in the LTC will be assured natural light from the courtyard. Secondly, the new dining room is set to have courtyard access, providing residents and guests a chance to eat outside if the weather permits, or to access the area for a walk and some fresh air. Also, the east entrance to the courtyard is for Physical Therapy access. PT patients have the option to take their walks outside in fair weather, rather than taking laps up and down the halls.
At the end of the day, it’s important to have green space. Wold knows the importance of providing the comforts of home. For our LTC residents, this is home. With little more than landscaping needed, the courtyard will by far produce the most bang for SEARHC’s buck, as far as the facility is concerned. Residents, patients, visitors and staff, will be guaranteed a safe space to get outside.
For more information, you can access the entire Sept. 17 design update here.