Polk County gives $285,000 to St. Luke’s for strategic growth plan

Published 4:26 pm Thursday, June 25, 2009

The hospital approached the county a couple of months ago to help fund the hospital&squo;s &dquo;strategy for growth&dquo; to enhance its orthopedic and surgery programs. Commissioners decided to create a task force to study the hospital&39;s needs and make a recommendation. The committee included commissioner Ren´e McDermott, St. Luke&squo;s board of trustees chair Susan McHugh, Polk County Economic Development Director Kipp McIntyre, St. Luke&squo;s interim CEO Alex Bell and&bsp; Sandra Page and Carol Jackson of the hospital.

&dquo;It&squo;s a new day for St. Luke&squo;s and they are ready to meet this challenge,&dquo; McDermott said Monday.

McHugh also spoke Monday and said the hospital has been evolving over the past several years from a stand-alone acute care hospital to a critical access hospital which is now affiliated with the Carolina Healthcare System.

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&dquo;Each of these changes has been accomplished with the aim of assuring that our local hospital would continue to be able to provide services to our community, despite the national trend of smaller communities losing their hospitals,&dquo; said McHugh. &dquo;There are no easy answers and many competing priorities, but in this time of great challenge also comes extraordinary opportunity. The outcome of the orthopedic task force whom you appointed is the beginning of our coming together as partners to create a new future for St. Luke&squo;s Hospital.&dquo;

The first phase (see story page 5) of the hospital&39;s project will include enlarging Dr. Brian Rosenberg&squo;s orthopedics office and recruiting a physician&squo;s assistant ($34,000), providing IT and fiber optics capability ($43,500), upgrading the hospital&squo;s computer software for more efficient scheduling ($46,500), adding professional services for medical and dental clearance ($18,000), enhancing customer service, marketing and public relations ($46,000) and purchasing C Arm fluoroscopy technology for general surgery and orthopaedic procedures ($150,000).

Phase I is planned to be done in 2009 with phase II planned for early 2010, which includes plans to enlarge and renovate eight patient rooms ($1 million). Phase III, planned for mid-2010, includes renovating and expanding surgical suites ($4 million) and phase IV is planned for 2011 and includes the addition of a new medical office building to incorporate rehabilitation services for orthopedic care ($1.5 million).