Patients at NMMC have new entrance

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo patients started coming and going from the hospital’s main entrance today.
The dedicated admissions-discharge entrance on the hospital’s southwest corner is closing to make way for a $55.1 million expansion and renovation project that will give the hospital 250 larger, high-tech patient rooms.
“Patients will be greeted by an ambassador,” at the hospital’s main entrance that faces Garfield Street, said Bruce Ridgway, hospital system vice president for facilities. Those who need to check in will be taken to the first floor admissions area.
“If they have a bed assigned, they’ll be taken straight to the room,” Ridgway said.
When it’s time to go home, patients also will leave through the south entrance. For most patients, the discharge process is completed at the bedside. Ambassadors will bring discharged patients down to the lobby through a non-public elevator that exits at the back of the lobby.
Staff will let family and friends who are helping the patient get home know when it’s time to bring a vehicle around to the entrance, Ridgway said.
“For patients’ comfort and privacy, we don’t want them sitting down waiting in the lobby for 20 minutes,” Ridgway said. “We’ll make this a well-orchestrated discharge.”
The hospital waited to close the admissions-discharge entrance and its parking lot until a fuel tank for the hospital’s generator had been relocated and the hospital’s dedicated handicap parking lot reopened.
“That’s been really missed by our public,” Ridgway said.
Construction crews are slated to begin demolition on the old admissions entrance and parking lot today.
The next step will be to erect scaffolding and board up eight rooms on each floor where the new building with connect to the existing wing.
Patient floors are being rearranged to shift storage areas into those rooms with the closed-in windows and opening rooms that aren’t directly affected by the construction. NMMC-Tupelo has permission from the Mississippi State Health Department to use those rooms with closed-in windows, but only if all other rooms on the floor are in use, Ridgway said.
When the project is complete, the hospital will have replaced cramped 45-year-old rooms that lack private showers for patients.
“Everything is being planned around the patient,” Ridgway said.
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@journalinc.com.