‘We need to grow again’: Columbus Community Hospital plans second expansion in recent years
COLUMBUS, Wis. — With patients having a harder time accessing health care outside urban areas, a hospital in a small Wisconsin city is growing, helping to fill that gap as it plans to expand.
Columbus Community Hospital is planning a $15 million expansion project, including a new clinic building, hoping to keep up with demand and continue providing services for those outside big cities.
“We do not allow our geography to define our commitment to excellence,” said Jamie Hendrix, vice president of patient care at the hospital.
With a population of less than 5,000 people, one might not expect Columbus to be home to a major independent health system.
“We do not feel bigger is better, we feel better is better,” Hendrix said.
But sometimes to be better, you do have to go bigger.
“We have outgrown what we had anticipated to be future growth, and we need to grow again,” chief financial officer Jimmy Fish said.
Fish said patient support plays a key role in the hospital’s growth.
“It’s an ongoing mutual relationship of respect and trust,” he said.
Serving a roughly 25-mile radius ranging from Sun Prairie to Beaver Dam, the hospital covers plenty of ground, and services — filling a need for residents from smaller communities.
“The costs of transportation are often not factored in when receiving care, not to mention convenience, as we deal with elderly populations with more difficulties getting to a larger tertiary center,” Fish said. “To be able to receive the same level of high quality care in your hometown or close to it without having to require travel is a huge benefit.”
CCH finished its last expansion project less than five years ago.
“By 2016, with the growth we had anticipated, or not anticipated actually, we needed to come back to the table and evaluate how much more we needed to grow,” Fish said, adding that the growth is needed to make room for patients and staff.
“We started in 2014 with five providers,” he said. “We currently employ 15, plus we’re adding an additional two.”
The expansion will add a clinic building to the hospital and will include a new rehab center, more office space, updates to the pharmacy, a remodel of dining areas and empty space for possible future growth.
“As we continue to grow and deliver high quality care, when you’re able to do both, it’s truly a magical moment,” Fish said.
He said the hospital will work to maintain that balance, so it gets both bigger and better to serve patients for years to come.
“We hope they keep putting their trust and faith in us,” Hendrix said.
Remodeling inside the hospital has already begun and construction on the new clinic building will begin this summer. The entire project is expected to be done by summer 2020.
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