Hospitals are a major part of smaller cities. They are a part of the fabric of communities.
So it was welcome news that The Medical Center at Franklin has completed a $4 million expansion, which includes two new operating suites, an endoscopy suite and a six-bed recovery unit.
Quick access to health care is crucial in any community. It improves health care and adds to a community’s quality of life.
Smaller towns often do not have adequate surgical facilities to avoid the requirement of patients having to travel or be transported to hospitals miles away.
Each minute of transportation to an out-of-town hospital can affect whether a patient, for example, survives an accident.
For Simpson County, which has a population of around 17,000, residents now have more options for surgeries and testing. Fourteen percent of Simpson residents are 65 or older, an age group that needs more medical care than younger adults.
Additionally, the investment equates to an easier time for patients’ relatives, who in some instances won’t have to travel and stay overnight in another city as they help with family members’ recoveries by providing support simply by being there.
Also, there is more room for complicated surgeries.
Clara Sumner, CEO of The Medical Center at Franklin, said: “(The surgery staff) worked in one room for a long time. Now, (the types of surgery) are unlimited to what the surgeon wants to do.”
The hospital addition also adds what is expected to be continued quality care with physicians many in the community already know or are somewhat familiar with.
This is hardly the first improvement at the hospital. Commonwealth Health Corp. bought the hospital in 2000. Since then, it has invested $21 million in the facility, which now has an emergency room staffed by a physician 24 hours a day.
Franklin, thanks to the addition, now has a much better hospital with amenities some smaller communities don’t have.
The city’s citizens are safer, which is the bottom line.
Secondary, however, is industrial recruitment. Access to good health care is an important component to business leaders who look to locate a plant in the area.
More jobs could be part of the hospital expansion as well.
Franklin Mayor Ronnie Clark praised the addition and the presence of the hospital.
“I was not part of the decision to sell (the hospital to CHC). It turned out to be real good for Franklin,” he said. It’s a facility “the community can rely on when we need medical attention. It attracts industry. It has a staff of outstanding physicians.”
Overall, the hospital expansion has made Franklin and Simpson County the winners here.
The Medical Center at Franklin unveiled its completed $4 million surgery expansion project to the public Monday.
“It was just 16 months ago that we gathered at the Franklin Medical Pavilion to celebrate the ribbon-cutting to get that project in motion,” said Clara Sumner, CEO of The Medical Center at Franklin. “Our inpatient and outpatient surgeries are growing here in Franklin.”
The 9,700-square-foot renovation and new construction includes two operating suites, an endoscopy suite, a six-bed recovery unit and other surgical support services. With the new addition, surgeons have more room to do more complicated surgeries.
“(The surgery staff) worked in one room for a long time,” Sumner said. “Now (the types of surgery) are unlimited to what the surgeon wants to do.”
The hospital has two general surgeons: Dr. John Korba of Bluegrass Surgical Associates in Bowling Green, who practices in Franklin as part of The Medical Center at Franklin’s Physician Specialty Clinics, and Dr. William Daniel, who opened a practice in the Franklin Medical Pavilion earlier this year. The hospital has 135 full-time and part-time employees, including several in surgery and acute care who have been added as the volume of patients has expanded. Other specialties at the Physician Specialty Clinics, including orthopedic surgery, urology and podiatry, will also be able to use the new surgical area.
“We’ll add staff as the number of procedures grows,” Sumner said.
The former Franklin-Simpson Memorial Hospital was established in 1969 and acquired by Commonwealth Health Corp. in April 2000. Franklin Mayor Ronnie Clark was a member of the original hospital board and remembers when the hospital was having financial struggles. He said he is grateful the hospital is part of the community.
“I was not part of the decision to sell (the hospital to CHC). It turned out to be real good for Franklin,” he said. It’s a place “the community can rely on when we need medical attention. It attracts industry. It has a staff of outstanding physicians.”
Having a good hospital is like having a good school system, Clark said.
“It’s vital,” he said. “We wouldn’t have a foundation on which to grow.”
Amy Ellis, immediate past president of the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce, agreed that The Medical Center is an essential part of the city.
“Every time it expands, it makes it a safer place for citizens,” she said. “We’re thankful to the hospital and everything they’ve done for the community.”
Since procuring The Medical Center at Franklin, CHC has invested more than $21 million in improvements, including continuous physician coverage in the emergency department, expansion of its diagnostic imaging services, the construction of two medical office buildings and a new 25-bed patient wing and the new surgery expansion project. Being able to take better care of patients makes it all worthwhile, Sumner said.
“Our mission is simple - to care for people and the quality of life of people we serve,” she said.
Franklin Favorite, originally published on 8/18/2011
Ribbon cutting ceremony is Aug. 22
The Medical Center at Franklin will unveil its $4 million expansion of its surgical unit during a Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Monday, Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.
The local hospital’s latest project encompasses 9,700 square feet and includes two state-of-the-art operating suites, an endoscopy suite, a six-bed recovery unit, a central sterile supply area, a staff lounge and men’s and women’s lockerrooms.
A portion of the hospital on the southwest side of the facility was remodeled and expanded to make way for the new surgical unit. The emergency room entrance for the public was not changed; however, the ambulance door to the ER was moved south by about 50 feet and is closer to the helipad.
Tours will be offered following Monday’s ribbon cutting.
The old emergency room and one-bed recovery room was built with the hospital in 1964. Once it’s replaced, Hospital Administrator Clara Sumner said the old surgical ward will likely be turned in to an area where patients can receive fluids, injections, blood transfusions and other procedures on an outpatient basis. Now, patients referred by local physicians to receive those types of procedures have to wait in the emergency room, sometimes for up to 30 minutes, according to Ms. Sumner.
The facility would be totally remodeled if and when the outdated surgical ward is refurbished. In addition, flooring is also being replaced throughout the entire hospital.
Finishing touches were being placed on the sparkling surgical unit that features all of the new technologies as well as the flooring Monday, and it’s expected the new unit will be ready for its first surgery on Sept. 1.
In January, The Medical Center at Franklin welcomed its first full-time general surgeon, Dr. William Daniel, who formally practiced at Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green. In addition, a general surgeon with Bluegrass Surgical Associates in Bowling Green has been practicing in Franklin as part of the Medical Center’s Specialty Clinics for the past 12 years.
Ms. Sumner said minor surgeries are being performed at The Medical Center at Franklin, but the improvements to the surgical unit and addition of a full-time surgeon will allow The Medical Center at Franklin to handle more complex procedures.
“We will be able to do just about anything that the physician feels comfortable doing,” Ms. Sumner said. “Technology-wise, this new surgical unit is one of the most modern in the country and capable of performing just about any procedure.”
This marks the third major expansion to the Franklin hospital in the past five years and will elevate the total square footage to 87,000 square feet.
In 2007, The Medical Center opened a 25-bed patient wing as part of a $5 million expansion. In 2010, a $3.5 million two-story Medical Pavilion was completed.
Since Commonwealth Health Corp., the parent company of The Medical Center at Franklin, purchased the 47-year-old hospital in April 2000, the Bowling Green-based company has invested over $21 million in expanding and upgrading the services offered.
Most of the improvements are designed to make diagnostic, surgical and other outpatient or inpatient procedures more convenient for Franklin residents and others in surrounding counties, Ms. Sumner said.
Sheron Harper’s official title at The Medical Center at Franklin is administrative services manager, but she does so much more there.
In addition to working for hospital CEO Clara Sumner, the Edmonson County native manages environmental services and hospital volunteers and is a hazard surveillance representative and a Joint Commission patient tracer, which helps evaluate patient care.
She also serves on the safety committee and is a notary public. She is one of a handful of people in Kentucky who are certified health care environmental services professionals, who are certified through the American Hospital Association. She also has DOT Hazardous Materials Training and can teach the hospital staff.
“We’re a small hospital,” she said, laughing. “We have to wear a lot of different hats.”
Many members of Harper’s family work in health care. She became interested as a teen.
“When I was in high school, I went to vocational school for health careers,” she said. “You got aide training for going to that class.”
She worked as a nursing assistant at Turtle Creek, which was located where Rosewood Health Care Center is now, before becoming a home health aide at The Medical Center in Bowling Green in 1977. She stayed in that position until 1984. When she returned to work, she went to orthopedics for a year before returning to home health. Then she went to what was called the “First Lady Suite,” a section of The Medical Center specifically for women.
“They got a rose on their trays each morning and had special bathrobes,” Harper said. “We had a lot of surgery patients.”
She returned once more to home health, became a team leader for the aides and eventually became the aide coordinator. She then went to adult day care as an office coordinator. In 2002, she went to The Medical Center at Franklin and became manager of environmental services before entering her current position.
“I enjoy coming to Franklin,” she said. “(The hospital) has changed so much.”
Since Harper has been there, The Medical Center at Franklin has grown to include new patient care rooms, a medical pavilion and will soon complete an expansion to enhance surgical services. She is also experiencing personal growth. Harper graduated magna cum laude last May with an associate’s degree in business from Mid-Continent University.
“I’m not bored,” she said of her job. “We’re busy here all the time.”
The Medical Center at Franklin announced plans Tuesday for a $4 million expansion to enhance surgical services, according to a news release.
The 9,400-square-foot project will include the construction of two operating suites, an endoscopy suite and a six-bed recovery unit.
Construction will begin in December with completion expected in August. The current ambulance entrance for the emergency department will relocate to accommodate the expansion. Stengel-Hill Architecture of Louisville will serve as architect, while Wittenburg Construction of Louisville will serve as general contractor.
Since Commonwealth Health Corp. acquired Franklin-Simpson Memorial Hospital in April 2000, more than $17 million has been invested in The Medical Center at Franklin.
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