Designing the Future of Rural Healthcare
Excerpts from the panel at ASHE Regional Conference
Mitch Binns, McCownGordon regional manager, recently moderated a discussion with panelists Pat Patton, Patterson Health Center CEO, designer, Denton Nichols, senior associate at Gould Evans and contractor, Tucker Peddicord, McCownGordon preconstruction manager, detailing the unique complexities of bringing a state-of-the-art hospital to a rural community. As rural hospitals are closing faster each year and 673 rural hospitals are at risk of closing, affecting 11.7 million people, two communities came together to build Patterson Health Center, benefiting and supporting both towns.
“Population decline combined with minority population increase, funding and scarcity of physicians have a huge impact on rural healthcare,” said Pat. “We’ve found the biggest movement to combat these changes is telehealth and telemedicine. Hospital bed need? will continue to decline with use of outpatient services instead of in-patient services.”
That’s why the communities wanted to focus on building a healthier community instead of just focusing on healing the sick. When the architect designed the building, they took the name “health center” to heart. This wasn’t going to be just another hospital; they wanted a place that promoted wellness to everyone who entered.
“When you talk about wellness, daylight is a big deal in your working and living environment,” said Denton. “We integrated daylight in back-of-house spaces, where there is typically no daylight. We pulled the dining room out from the back of the building to the front and included a patio space for patients, visitors and community members.”
Pat Patton, CEO of Patterson Health, believes the communities are already seeing healthy benefits “Using the dining center as a health-forward initiative is a good option,” said Pat. “It brings in the community and provides healthy options and a healthy gathering place.”
Not only is the health center bringing people together now, but it brought the communities together during construction. Tucker brought in locals to pre-bid meetings and incorporated them into the project.
“We used local task force for superintendents, laborers and carpenters,” said Tucker. “We tried to only use local shops throughout the project duration and McCownGordon ended up spending over $1.5M in Harper county between hardware, food, fuel, hotels, concrete materials, hiring a local laborer, utilities, dumpsters and rental equipment.”