The Homer Medical Center is currently in the middle of a $3 million expansion, approved by voters last year. The 5,000-square-foot building was built 30 years ago to serve about 2,000 patients annually, but over 9,000 individual consumers have relied on its services over the past three years. The expansion will provide more than extra space. Patients are likely to see expanded services and decreased wait times.
The medical center has been trying to serve more and more patients over the past few years. Its services have been expanded to accommodate the increased load, but space is still limited. As you walk through the current building, providers are working in the hallway or behind curtains in a corner.
But, you can hear that’s all about to change next door. Rhonda Bradshaw is the clinic manager. She’s showing off the 5,700-square-foot expansion.
Workers are still pounding away and hanging drywall, but staff will soon be working in the new offices. Providers and office staff will move into the new portion of the building next month while the decades-old portion is remodeled.
Bradshaw explains it’s more than just office space. Patients can wait up to two weeks just to see their doctor, but the medical center’s four physicians and their staff will have eight new exam rooms, nearly doubling the amount of patients they can see in one day.
“Four providers are comfortable, five is cramped and six is out of the question,” Bradshaw said of the current space. “So we’re going to expand and have 17 exam rooms so we could very comfortably have eight providers a day working.”
Bradshaw said that will significantly reduce wait times, and she adds the medical center is already expanding its medical staff to increase service.
“We just added a new ANP, advanced nurse practitioner. We hope to add one more advanced nurse practitioner and maybe two more physicians, but one for right now,” she explained. “We just don’t have any room right now. We can’t add any more until we’re in the building.”
Bradshaw notes that adding more providers will spread the current workload, making it easier to recruit physicians in the future.
Other services will also be improved. More types of X-rays will be able to be done on site. The medical center is also looking to add dedicated wound care to its roster of services, and physicians and their teams will have their own offices, allowing them to follow up with patients more easily.
Bradshaw said there could be additional openings for front desk staff, medical assistants and other support staff. Currently, the medical center employs 47 workers, but, they won’t know just how many jobs will become available until the project is finished in December.