After encountering budgeting challenges, a $2.9 million renovation of the Powell Valley Hospital emergency department is finally underway.
Employees of Buffalo-based Diamond Point Construction …
After encountering budgeting challenges, a $1.9 million renovation of the Powell Valley Hospital emergency department is finally underway.
Employees of Buffalo-based Diamond Point Construction kicked off the project last week by taking sledgehammers to the wall between the hospital’s emergency department entrance and the pharmacy, which will create a new entrance during the construction.
“Things are going to be a little chaotic, and we’re asking everyone to be patient,” said June Minchow, director of emergency and critical care services.
The emergency department was built in 1984 before privacy and security concerns were at the forefront of hospitals; HIPAA, the federal healthcare privacy law, was enacted in 1996. Curtains cover the doorways to the exam rooms, and the walls are so thin that doctors can be heard doing consultations. The renovation will create more privacy, a smoother workflow for nurses and doctors, and more space in the ambulance bay.
The original timeline had the project starting in October 2019 and finished by the end of December, but the first bids came in too high, between $3.26 million and $3.63 million.
Over the past several months, the hospital has been working in consultation with Billings Clinic to adjust the plans to accommodate the hospital’s budget. The project was rebid, and Diamond Point came in as the low bidder.
Among the changes made to bring the project within budget was to go with a construction manager at risk approach, which helps control costs. The project was originally supposed to be done in three phases, and this was reduced to two. The shorter duration reduces the cost to the contractor, and will still allow PVHC to maintain a functioning emergency department during construction. Two of the new ambulance bays were also eliminated.
Minchow said a tent put up for COVID-19 screening will come down, but PVHC workers will still screen patients coming into the emergency department.
“We can’t let down our guard right now,” Minchow said.
The COVID HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered treatment rooms in the emergency department will be moved during the construction. The hospital has an overflow plan should they receive a sudden influx of patients at any one time.
“I think we’re in good shape,” Minchow said.
The current timeline for completion is now July of 2021. It’s certainly going to create some inconveniences, but Minchow said the results will facilitate the superior patient care PVHC strives for. She said she can’t wait for it to be complete.
“I wish it could be done tomorrow,” Minchow said. “Unfortunately, I can’t wiggle my nose and make it happen faster.”
(Editor's note: This version corrects the cost of the renovation work. The original story misstated the cost as $2.9 million.)