The changing face of rural healthcare: How communities can keep up

Clay County Medical Center

The landscape of rural healthcare in Kansas, and around the Midwest, is changing dramatically. Many healthcare providers and hospital administrators are rethinking how they deliver care as regional clinics and hospitals decide whether to maintain their status quo, upgrade and expand their services, or join with other providers to serve their communities.

“This is a huge period of transition in the rural healthcare industry,” said Daniel Lacy, vice president of operations at McCownGordon Construction. “The changing primary care model, technology like telemedicine, the anticipated physician shortage and a focus on wellness all impact how rural communities are rethinking care delivery.”

The healthcare construction team at McCownGordon helps communities and hospital administrators navigate these changes and find solutions that benefit everyone by helping to assess needs and maximize budgets.

“Our involvement can help clients choose how to best spend their dollars—in a way that makes sense for their communities,” Lacy said. “A wrong decision can be catastrophic for them. First, we listen to understand their current operational situation and then we work with them to offer solutions. These may range from things like feasibility studies to help them understand the cost of various elements, and guidance on effectiveness and efficiency. We also address equipment to ensure buildings can accommodate the latest technology, and recommendations on planning for future phases, among others. Our goal is always to consider the best way to deliver long-term ROI for clients to help them make informed decisions.”

For example, McCownGordon’s involvement might include finding a way to incorporate an extra surgical room, creating a space to provide a new service, or updating infrastructure to keep pace with technological needs.

“People want access to the same services they’re used to,” Lacy said. “If we can preserve those services, even expand them, and anticipate future needs, that’s a big success for rural areas.”

In addition to services like telemedicine, some clinics opt to include services focused on wellness. More and more, hospital and healthcare professionals in rural communities are focusing on helping community members maintain their wellbeing, adding things like restaurants with healthy food options and fitness centers to their facilities.

That’s why it’s so important to engage a construction management firm early. They bring the experience and expertise to help you assess what makes the most sense for your community while staying within your business parameters.