MADISON, W.Va. - Travis Harmon of Madison brought his father John to the new Boone Memorial Hospital last week for some blood work. He said it was the first time they had been to the new location.
"The patient services are just so much faster now," Harmon said. "I had my dad in and out in a very short period of time. I am really impressed with this place. It's just so much bigger and more modern than the old hospital."
Just over a year ago, Boone Memorial Hospital opened the doors to its new $37 million, 78,000-square-foot hospital, just beside where the old hospital was located. The old 28,000-square-foot hospital was torn down and today serves as a large parking lot for the new facility.
The new hospital has 25 private patient rooms, IV therapy, the latest in radiology and laboratory equipment, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, two new surgery suites plus six additional emergency treatment rooms and three new triage rooms.
"It was literally like moving into a brand-new home or buying a brand-new car with all the excitement that comes with it," said Mark Linville, Chief Operating Officer at the hospital. "We are very proud of our first year."
The new hospital is equipped with advanced technology, expanded services and more health care professionals. Since move day, the hospital has flourished, reporting amazing increases in patient satisfaction and new health care services for area residents.
Linville says the Boone Memorial team has long been dedicated to the care of its patients.
"One thing we brought with us from the old hospital was providing excellent care to our patients," he said. "However, the original hospital had reached the end of its viability in meeting the ever changing advances in technology and healthcare demands of our population."
The ground breaking for the new hospital was held in August, 2014 and opened its doors on June 25, 2016.
"I attribute the majority of Boone Memorial Hospital's success in the past year to our employees, physicians, donors, volunteers and the community support," said Virgil Underwood, CEO of BMH. "Our people here at BMH continue to deliver outstanding care to our patients and their families, all while adjusting to a brand-new environment over the past year."
"With all the planning we did in advance, it was really a smooth move," said Terri Castle, Chief Nursing Officer at BMH.
One of the many new features in the 77,000-square-foot facility is its new and improved Emergency Room (ER). The ER now has 12 patient beds, all private, compared to six at the former Boone Memorial.
"We also have new technologically advanced equipment and the ER has more than doubled in size," Castle said. "In addition, our Emergency Room has received permanent designation as a Trauma Level IV facility."
There are basically five designation levels for hospital emergency rooms. A Level IV means a surgeon isn't on duty, but the hospital can transfer a patient immediately, if needed.
"The Health Net or Air Evac teams can get to BMH within minutes," Castle explains. "This allows for a smoother and quicker transfer. We have training that allows us to intervene and do life-saving interventions to stabilize a patient and get them to a bigger facility.
"When other hospitals know you are a Trauma Level IV they know what we can and can't offer," she added. "We have higher expectations put forth by the state that we have to accomplish. In addition, we have certifications along with a higher level of training and skills that we have to maintain. These higher expectations and standards for our nurses and the doctors in turn result in a higher level of care for our patients."
Boone Memorial Hospital staff education has also been enhanced, officials said.
Every physician in the Emergency Room is ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) certified. Nurses have attended TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core Course) and those on staff are ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified. Several nurses have also extended their training in CCT (Critical Care Transport) and CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse).
"They are better prepared to assess, manage and treat trauma quickly and get them to a facility to the extended care they need for on-going treatment," Castle said.
The hospital is required to complete surveys every three years.
"We have policies, protocols and guidelines we have to adhere to," said Castle. "Everything has been stepped up to a higher level of care and expectations. It's a challenge but one our staff is well equipped and prepared to handle. Our nurses challenge each other and I'm confident they could function in any emergency room setting."
It would be difficult to name every single enhancement or expanded services offered at the new hospital, but Linville did give a few examples.
Linville said the hospital's old physical therapy location was housed in a small 2,200-square-foot building across the street.
"It limited the number of patients they could see," he said. "Now that department has over 5,500 square feet and they are able to see many more patients."
The new hospital now offers plastic and eye surgeries and much more, Linville added.
"There are just so many new and enhanced technologies and services that we just didn't have the room for in our old location," Linville said. "I urge everyone in the community to come and check out the new hospital, if they haven't already. We have had nothing but positive feedback from everyone."
When Boone Memorial first opened its doors in 1964, its leaders dedicated their energies to the philosophy of "People Helping People." In short, the facility was not to be simply a sterile clinical outpost for the sick and injured; it was to serve as a vital part of the community.
Carl Cline was Boone Memorial's first Administrator. His leadership continued through his untimely death following surgery in 1968.
Tommy Mullins was the longest serving CEO and helped secure the federal funding to build the new hospital.
Mullins joined staff as a bookkeeper in May of 1964, the same year Boone Memorial opened its doors. He was named CEO in 1968.
During his tenure Mullins watched the facility triple in personnel growth and oversaw numerous expansions. Mullins led the process to convert BMH to a 501-c-3 non-profit hospital.
Under Mullins leadership, Boone Memorial continued to prosper at times when many rural hospitals closed. He retired in 2014 after 50 years of service.
Underwood says the new hospital was designed by BMH employees, physicians and community members.
"The new hospital is welcoming, and we have been able to stay financially sound, recruit some of the best health care professionals in the country and haven't raised any prices," he said. "We now have approximately 250 dedicated employees at this new hospital that now have the adequate space and technology to grow well into the future."
There are also plans to open a new clinic and new pharmacy at the hospital by the end of October this year.
Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter at @FredPaceHD.