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story.lead_photo.caption Renovations: The Medical Center of South Arkansas is currently undergoing multiple renovations and upgrades as part of CEO Scott Street’s vision for destination health care. Left, a crane lowers a new heating and air unit into the hospital. Top right is the new cafeteria, Cafe 870. Bottom right, El Dorado Glass installs a glass wall inside the Robert C. Tommey Conference Center. Contributed photo

The Medical Center of South Arkansas is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation, with phase I of the renovations projected to be complete in mid to late summer.

Phase I includes five projects, two of which have been completed such as the Robert C. Tommey Conference Center, which held its grand opening in November, and the remodel to the cafeteria, now Cafe 870, which was also complete in November.

Three projects are currently underway including renovations of basement offices and expansions of the emergency room, renovations to the second and third floor patient rooms and a remodel of the lobby entrance and relocation of the hospital’s gift shop.

MCSA’s CEO Scott Street said phase I equates to about $7.5 million.

Street, who stepped into the position of CEO in November 2017, first spoke publicly about his vision for MCSA at the Go Red luncheon last year. At the luncheon, held in February, Street announced that MCSA was in the beginning stages of a renovation that would update the hospital.

He said through meetings and interaction with the community, he asked “what do you want in a health care provider?”

“So really, this phase I is rolling out what we heard from both team members/medical staff and the community in the way of what’s needed,” Street said. “We’ve had to prioritize because we can’t do everything at once, but our goal is to roll out a number of phases, this being one.”

Renovations began in the basement offices, with the expansion of the emergency room for what officials are calling “the Fast Track” happening simultaneously. The renovations continued to the third floor for the addition of the Medical Withdrawal Maintenance service line office, which opened in October.

“The Fast Track ER renovations will provide a means for improving ER efficiency through providing care for lower acuity patients in a more rapid manner,” said Amy Triplett, MCSA chief nursing officer. “This will be accomplished via a designated space for these patients, designed to expedite care and decrease the overall length of stay of patients requiring minor care.”

The remodel and renovation of the patient rooms began with reconstructing the rooms from the base construction out to reconfigure the space more efficiently for patient care.

“The newly renovated two North unit will house a 13-bed Medical/Surgical Unit,” Triplett said. “The Medical/Surgical Unit will have completely renovated patient care rooms with new telemetry monitoring as well. These improvements are targeted to increase our patient’s comfort level and moving us forward on our destination health care journey.”

Telemetry monitoring allows medical professionals to monitor patients without being physically near. It’s often used for cardiac monitoring.

The renovation of the front lobby is currently under construction, and the Auxiliary Gift Shop was moved down the hall from its previous location at the entrance to the hospital.

The renovation to the lobby is projected to be complete in April. Street added that with the renovations to the lobby, they are trying to create an environment where people don’t feel like they’re in a typical hospital.

Street said they are using local contractors to complete the renovations being done to the hospital, adding “we want to utilize as many local services as we can.”

Street added that there will be more alliances announced in the future, such as the Arkansas Children’s Hospital alliance MCSA announced in November.

Street said during phase I, another alliance will be announced, “and others in other phases down the road, to strengthen our quality care and our quality provided to our patients.”

“I think the biggest impact of phase I is the new service lines that we will be rolling out, with a focus on behavioral health,” Street said.

He added that patient experience and future alliances will also have big impacts on the hospital and the community.

Danna Taylor, MCSA’s vice president of operations, said the renovations are important for MCSA’s team members and providers as well as for patients, visitors and the community.

“It’s good to hear positives about the organization whether it’s the new Bistro, new Robert Tommey Conference Center, remodeling of older rooms or about the additional new providers,” Taylor said. “We work hard every day as a team to bring great health care to the community. I cannot wait until the projects are all completed and our new services are open.”

Street said that by the time phase I is complete, phase II will already be underway in certain areas. Street added that they are working on the funds for phase II, noting that he could not give any details yet on what that phase will entail.

“The more growth we have, the more phases we can add down the road,” he said.

Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or krigdon@ eldoradonews.com.

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