n State-of-the-art facility offers new services.
By CHRIS WILSON
AMORY – One of Amory’s claims to fame has long been obstetric services and the extraordinary number of women who give birth at the Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center.
Now there is even more reason for Amory to be the leader in women’s health care.
The hospital’s new 39,774-square-foot, two-story Women’s Center will have an open house to show off the new center to the public on Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. By the following week, once the facility clears state inspections, hospital staff and equipment will transition into the new center.
The Women’s Center is dedicated in honor of Dr. Richard S. Hollis who was instrumental in putting Amory’s obstetric and gynecologic services on the map when he began practicing medicine here years ago when he and Dr. Wendell Stockton opened the Physicians amp& Surgeons Clinic. The new center offers state-of-the-art technology and facilities.
Construction began on the new Women’s Center in February 2008. The primary contractor on the $18.5 million facility was M.J. Harris, Inc. of Birmingham, Ala.
Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center CEO Dwayne Blaylock calls the Women’s Center a “top notch project.”
“We’re excited about it,” Blaylock said. “It’s the culmination of a lot of people’s efforts. A lot of visions went into this project. We’re proud to be the ones to deliver this to Monroe County. We made a promise to this community in December 2005 (when HMA purchased the hospital) to do this project.”
Blaylock said efforts have been made to purchase as many things locally as possible during the construction, including using some local subcontractors when possible.
He said a lot of designing and work sessions with architects preceded construction, to be sure that the facility is user friendly to both staff and patients alike. “Our staff had a lot of input,” he said.
The Women’s Center gives the hospital a whole new profile as the hospital has transformed from a one-story structure to two. It was also constructed in a way that a third floor could be added some day if needed.
The first floor of the new area contains an entirely new front entrance to the hospital. No longer will everyone enter the hospital from the outpatient pavilion in the back. There is parking to the front also.
Upon entering the front, visitors will enter a spacious main lobby area. There are separate outpatient and Women’s Center waiting areas and admission and registration desks.
In the Women’s Center diagnostic area on the first floor, there are changing rooms and rooms for various diagnostic procedures – mammography, ultrasound, stereotactic biopsy, urodynamics, bone density scanning and diabetes services.
A second entrance on the front of the building serves as an emergency room entrance. There is an ER waiting room, a large triage area that’s about five times larger than the one currently in use. There is also an ER registration and consultation space. The ER entrance will also serve as the hospital’s main entrance for everyone during the night with security.
Also on the first floor are the neonatal services for newborns that require extra care. there is a six-bay NICU area with an NICU family room and NICU waiting room. There is also space to expand the NICU in the future as need dictates.
The 16,000-square-foot second floor contains a state-of-the-art labor and delivery area and a nursery. There are 13 post partum patient rooms, all decorated in muted and calming tones and with new furnishings that create a more homelike environment. Patient rooms contain a pull-out sofa bed for guests who stay the night as well as a rocker/recliner. Some rooms’ bathrooms also are equipped with whirlpool tubs.
A spacious nurses station serves this area. Also on the second floor are two observation patient rooms, a labor room and five labor/delivery rooms where women give birth right in their own room.
A bright new nursery with plenty of glassed viewing areas is down the hall, as is an operating room for C-section deliveries. There are also other areas for new mothers including a sitz bath room and consultation rooms.
According to Mary Franklin, GMRMC Chief Nursing Officer, the Women’s Center will be a wonderful environment for the hospital’s staff. It offers plenty of storage space, large nursing stations and every effort has been taken to make space flow well. “We’re really proud of it,” Franklin said. “I think the flow is going to work very well, especially in the emergency room.”
Franklin said she is also proud of the opportunity that HMA (Health Management Associates) has given them to have this type of facility for the community. “It’s great for us and for our patients,” she said.
About 600 births occurred at the GMRMC last year. Five OB/GYN physicians from Physicians and Surgeons Clinic in Amory serve the hospital. Like everyone else, Dr. Pat Chaney said he is excited about the new Women’s Center. “I believe Gilmore has provided excellent care to our patients and now we can provide that care in a beautiful setting,” Chaney said. “HMA is to be congratulated for this demonstration of its commitment to women’s health.”
CEO Blaylock said that while the Women’s Center has now reached completion, it does not mean that everything is done at the hospital. In the coming year, he said renovations will begin on the rest of the existing hospital spaces to bring it up to the same quality and beauty as the new Women’s Center. “We will have to make it match the new part,” he said.
The new Women’s Center will be on display during the coming weekend. Employees will be touring it on Friday and then a by-invitation-only gala reception will be held Friday night for physicians, their families, administration and other dignitaries.
An open house for the public will be held on Saturday, May 9, from 1-3 p.m.