Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH) announced last week it will undertake a major expansion to bring comprehensive health care services to the area. Plans include a 10,500 sq. ft. surgical and diagnostic center, a new medical office building, an expanded physical therapy department and a possible new fitness facility.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture made the improvements possible with a $17 million loan.
WCH CEO Jim Tavary explained the loan will be split – with approximately $7 million paying off higher interest, existing loans, and the remaining $10 million being used for construction of the surgical center and medical office building. The new impact of refinancing $7 million with the USDA funding, at 3.5 percent interest over 30 years, comes to approximately $270K per year in interest savings, Tavary said. The fitness center and physical therapy expansion will be funded separately with a local conventional loan, he added.
While WCH officials worked for close to two years to obtain the USDA loan, Wickenburg Community Hospital Foundation undertook a $7.5 million capital fund raising campaign. In February of this year, the foundation met its goal with a combination of pledges and gifts from large donors, individual community members and hospital employees.
What the foundation did was almost unprecedented and spoke volumes to the USDA in terms of demonstrating that this community really supports these projects, Tavary said.
The money raised in the capital campaign consists of upfront gifts as well as pledges, which will be collected over the course of the next few years. As the money comes in, it will be applied toward construction and equipment costs, Tavary said. So already, we basically have one of the buildings paid for, even before we break ground.
Tavary said USDA officials told him, WCH’s project is the largest they have funded this year and is one of the biggest in many years.
So why expand a rural hospital on the outskirts of a major metropolitan area?
The demand exists, Tavary said. In 2009, WCH admitted patients for approximately 21,000 procedures. The projection for 2015 has climbed to 30,000. In 2010, WCH opened a clinic directly across Rose Lane from the hospitals emergency entrance and staffed it with physicians and physician assistants. In 2012, WCH established a clinic in Congress, which has proven high demand. Meanwhile, the emergency room has seen a 12 percent uptick in admissions. The largest boom has been in physical therapy where the number of procedures has shot up from about 6,500 in 2010 to about 38,000 in 2014.
People are feeling confident in our ability to deliver high-quality medical services, Tavary said. With this expansion, we will be able to deliver an absolute comprehensive health care campus. It all starts with primary care and includes emergency, diagnostic, surgical and of course promotion of healthy living with the fitness facility.
Originally published in the Wickenburg Sun http://www.wickenburgsun.com/ Jeanie Williams, Editor