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New wing of hospital starts spring 2013

Garrett medical center wants to have renovations on third floor complete by October ’14

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — The groundbreaking of the new wing expansion at the Garrett County Memorial Hospital will likely be done in the spring of 2013, according to Donald Battista, the hospital’s president and CEO.

“We are getting closer. Our Health Services Cost Review Commission review has been docketed … and so has our Certificate of Need,” said Battista during his presentation to the county commissioners Tuesday. “So, we are assuming they will have some adjudications of those applications somewhere in the November/ December time frame.”

The first additional wing expansion on the third floor will ostensibly be completed in October 2014, said Tracy Lipscomb, chief financial officer for the hospital.

“We have been working on this since about 2010,” said Battista.

The wing expansion will include a new four-story addition to the existing hospital with a focus on improvements to inpatient units.

This will be the first improvement to the inpatient bed facility since 1980.

All the inpatient units will be enhanced with major renovations, according to Battista.

The proposed plan includes eight new private med-surg rooms — each allows for existing semiprivate conversions to private.

These additional rooms will allow enhanced patient privacy and safety and improved infection control management. The rooms will be sized to accommodate new patient care technology, said Battista. The plan proposes an additional 19,504 square feet.

Rehabilitation and renovations will be done to approximately one-third of the existing facility, or 41,938 square feet.

The proposed work will be done in four phases to be completed in about 36 months.

The hospital will stay operational during the construction process, according to Battista.

“You build the wing, then you start filling in some of the inpatient areas within that building,” said Battista. “It’s very thoughtfully considered; it’s not a short-term project. The basement area is an important part of this project.”

The improvement of the basement allows for renovations to the dining serving area and to the kitchen, increasing serving line and eating spaces, according to Battista.

The renovations to the basement will take place in Phase I, according to a handout provided at the meeting.

Total renovations to the hospital are expected to be completed in June 2016, said Lipscomb.

The total cost of the project will be about $23.5 million, with about $17.5 million in construction costs, according to Lipscomb. About $7.5 million of funding will come from hospital operations and cash reserves and $1 million will come from fundraising.

The county will be a co-signer for the $15 million that the hospital is going to borrow, according to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator. The hospital would then pay off that debt service at 5.25 percent for 20 years, according to the handout. The hospital has borrowed money from the county in the past.

Hospitals in Maryland are funded differently than hospitals in West Virginia, said Battista.

“Maryland is the only state left that is regulated in terms of Medicare and Medicaid differently than the other 49,” said Battista. “The other 49 states are under something called Critical Access Hospitals.”

CAH is a special designation for rural health care under Medicare, according to Battista.

“It’s really low-volume, low-market areas that have to have some kind of health care for the citizens to access,” said Battista.

CAH provides cost-based reimbursements from Medicare that allow buildings to be constructed. The new Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, W.Va., was built under CAH status, according to Battista.

“There is no such thing in Maryland,” said Battista.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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