In 2012, Providence Medical Center opened the doors on the $3.5 million renovation project that included a spacious addition specifically for the therapy and wellness services. Outpatient services also saw renovation and addition at that time, bringing the total square feet added on to 25,000. The Therapy wing is shown above, as guests peruse the area at the open house.

As patient needs and medical practices have evolved, so has Providence Medical Center

As Providence Medical Center pushes forward in its impressive construction and renovation project, we will publish a series of five articles centered around various aspects of PMC. This week focuses on the shortcomings and necessary improvements over the years and next week's will highlight from 2013 through the present.

Throughout the years, construction projects have taken the original footprint for Providence Medical Center and expanded it, built upon it and changed it to keep up with quickly evolving medical practices and ever-growing patient needs.

Whether it be based in medicine or rooted in patient care, a need must be addressed or the risk of falling behind begins to grow. It's much easier to keep up with changes as they arise, rather than ignore them and hope that in the future someone else can handle it.

This is something administration, physicians and other staff at PMC haven't just allowed but embraced, knowing full well the benefit of offering modern facilities and practices.

Starting with that simple or not-so-simple need, meetings can be conducted for brainstorming and discussing the best possible solution to the issue. From there plans are drawn up and looked over extensively, with suggestions voiced and changes made before the final product is approved.

While the hospital was a modern, state-of-the-art facility when it's doors opened in 1975, it didn't take long before changes needed to be made to keep that status.

The initial plans included two patient wings, surgical suite, kitchen and dining area, laboratory and radiography room as well as a chapel and housing for several Missionary Benedictine Sisters.

By 1980, changes were already occurring at PMC with the addition of the Providence Fitness Center in the basement of the hospital. 

The facility was available for use by members and hospital employees and seniors received a membership at half the normal cost.

A "C" wing had been constructed by 1988. It was home to the education room and a dirty/clean utility  was moved to accommodate an additionalcritical care room.

Then came the clinic in 1995, where physicians under the Northeast Nebraska Family Practice, Inc. umbrella would practice in Wayne, rather than being split between two locations in town like they had been previously.

Just a year after the clinic opened it's doors, a CT Scan room was added to the hospital.

A full outpatient addition was completed in 2000, which added seven exam rooms, a nurses station, doctor's dictation area and a new ambulance garage, director of plant operations Mark Tietz said. 

"It was the big drive-through ambulance garage," Tietz said. "That was all added on during 1999-2000."

An in-house MRI was added in 2009 to further PMC's diagnostic capabilities.

"We became aware in about 2011-12 that our Wellness Center which was in the basement, very small, cramped area and Physical Therapy was growing and running out of room," Tietz said. "That's when it was decided that they would add on the Wellness Center and Physical Therapy area."

Tietz said during that time, expansion was also done on the Outpatient wing to include an Oncology area.

In addition to the therapy and wellness areas, a shell space was also constructed with the thought of future expansion in mind, which is where a multipurpose room, administration suite and student health reside now, in their new permanent spaces. 

"We no longer have that space, but that was what happened prior to this project," Tietz said of the former shell space.

Student Health now has an exterior door for students to utilize. The door sits right off the walking trail on the west side of the building and has the Wildcat logo on it to help it stand out to students wishing to utilize the services.

"It's a lot handier for (the students)," Tietz said. "It took a little while to get everyone to figure out how to gain access they were coming in the old way or through the ER, now they're a little more familiar with how to get there."

But it wasn't just space that needed updated or expanded on.

Thanks to the ever-growing world of medical practice and technology changes, Providence Medical Center like every other hospital was forced to keep up with those changes in order to offer the best care possible. 

Equipment such as the 1968 Pontiac ambulance saw it's end of life at PMC by 1982 when it was replaced.

In 1987, Providence Medical Center added its very first Ultrasound machine to the list of state-of-the-art technology. It was replaced in 1995 with a price tag of $154,000. 

Sister Kevin Hermsen was quoted saying  "When you need it, it's worth every penny."

By 1996, Providence acquired its first CAT scan.

The millennium proved to be a year of change at PMC with the expansion of pharmacy services and the addition of vital signs monitors.

2006 saw a complete upgrade for the radiology department including another new ultrasound machine, and an upgraded CT scanner. 

2008 and 2009 brought about a new C-Arm for the surgical department and an auto-pulse cardiac support pump as well as an in-house MRI.

The Life Flight service, a helicopter ambulance based at St. Joseph's Hospital in Omaha, was made available in 1984,

In 1986, PMC began offering a Cardiology Clinic additionally to the other services offered in the outpatient clinics.

Providence Medical Center began participating in the tissue donor program in December of 1989.

By 1997, PMC was able to provide teleradiography thanks to a grant from the Gardner Foundation and began conducting ACL reconstruction surgeries.

A new osteoporosis diagnostic technology was made available on a mobile basis monthly in 1998. 

In the following years services, equipment and staffing changes included massage therapy, lymphadema treatment, a wound ostomy continence nurse, body warming gowns and a fully automated pharmacy with three new dispensing cabinets were staples at PMC among many other additions.

And one big change came in 2009 as Providence Medical Center purchased the hospital from the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Norfolk, becoming a non-profit community hospital. 

Looking ahead, more changes will be made as technology and practices evolve, but also as health care dictates patient care.

Providence Medical Center's Chief Executive Officer Jim Frank discussed the future of health care and how it would affect services and practices offered at PMC, starting with a simple fact: technology advances.

Additional equipment and increased diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities will grow as technology advances, Frank said. Pieces of equipment that aren't available today will be around in the future.

And along with that, the use of telemedicine will likely go up for the sake of convenience. It's much more convenient to visit PMC and visit with a specialist via video feed than it is to drive to Omaha or Lincoln. Providence Medical Center already offers psychiatry through TeleHealth.

Another aspect of future health care Frank discussed was that of regulation.

When the government is responsible for paying for medical care, regulations become more strict and increase in numbers, but one-size-fits-all regulations are difficult to manage for a smaller community hospital such as PMC. 

Because of that regulation, integrated healthcare systems are becoming more common around the country.

The trend incorporates physicians, small hospitals and tertiary hospitals under one umbrella. Nebraska hasn't been affected the way states like Iowa or Minnesota have, but it's becoming an influence in the state.

Frank believes with programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurance, there will be decreased reimbursement in future years.

"They're all looking for ways to reduce their burden and their cuts affect us," Frank said. "We're in a healthcare crisis and we anticipate changes to be made to that, which will ultimately affect us."

The Wayne Herald

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