flag image

The New Huggins Hospital Part Two

FIRST FLOOR PLAN OF THE NEW HUGGINS HOSPITAL (courtesy of Huggins Hospital) (click for larger version)
February 18, 2010
[Editor's Note: This is the second part of a three-part series prepared by Huggins Hospital to present our readers with a view of the new facility now nearing completion. The first part, which put the new facility in context with the hospital's role in the community, appeared last week. This part includes a virtual tour of the first floor of the new building.]


WOLFEBORO — In last week's article, we gave an introduction to Huggins Hospital. While everyone knows that Huggins is a hospital, the definition of "hospital" has changed over the years. Huggins Hospital is an acute care, non-profit critical access hospital. We serve the Eastern Lakes Region and have network relationships with Dartmouth Hitchcock, Maine Medical Center, Catholic Medical Center and several other secondary and teaching hospitals to for trauma, tertiary care and specialty services. Huggins Hospital also owns thirteen physician practices, Back Bay Rehab in Wolfeboro and Alton, and provides a home to the VNA, Hospice and the Adult Day Care Center. We have a 25-bed Assisted Living Center at the Sugar Hill Retirement Community and a 27-bed Transitional Care Center on our campus – both are Huggins Hospital affiliates.

This week, we're going to look ahead to the new, hospital and what it means for our community.

This new facility is the most ambitious project in our 100-year history. As mentioned in last week's article, as a non-profit organization, excess revenue over expenses in our fiscal year is reinvested in the goals and mission of the organization. For many years, Huggins Hospital, as many other N.H. hospitals, enjoyed reasonable operating margins. In great part this was due to how health care was delivered and reimbursed. During those years, the Trustees reserved these funds for future capital improvements.

About six years ago, the Board of Trustees evaluated the costs of maintaining the current hospital facilities, whose core dates back to 1924. As significant amounts of resources were being invested in an aged infrastructure, new regulations for infection control and patient privacy and safety were released and advancements in medical technology improved health care, it became apparent that the time for a new facility had arrived.

Financing a New Hospital

The new facility is being funded from three sources. One half is coming from the hospital's capital reserve fund. Slightly less than half is coming from bond financing. And $5 million is being raised within the community as part of the hospital's capital campaign. We are pleased to announce that in the first six months of the capital campaign, over $2.8 million dollars has been raised from individuals. A recent Huggins Hospital employee campaign raised $55,000 with 48 percent of our employees participating. We are very proud of this strong show of support from our employees. It is clear, from this favorable start, that having quality health care in a convenient location is very important to everyone in our community.

Many have asked why Huggins Hospital has experienced a reduction in staff while building a new facility. The current economy has been very difficult for businesses and hospitals throughout New Hampshire. The Administration at Huggins Hospital made every effort to minimize the staff reductions while balancing the financial health of the organization. Funding for operating expenses, such as staff, comes from operating revenue. Operating revenue is not used for the capital expense of the new building. In turn, the reserve funds, bond financing and capital campaign contributions cannot be used for operating expenses.

The new facility will allow for technological improvements, bring the hospital into compliance with new patient privacy and safety and infection control regulations, and provide a healing environment for patients and their families and a pleasant work environment for our employees. All of these changes also improve staff and physician retention and recruitment.

A Virtual Tour

There's the background, now let's walk in and take a look around. You can follow along with the floor plan included with this article. The main entrance will have a large canopy over the driveway so that when you are dropping someone off or picking them up, you will be protected from any rain or snow. As you walk into the lobby area, you'll see the Patient Business Services to your left and a spacious and comfortable waiting area with plenty of natural light to your right with an expanded gift shop just off the waiting area. As you walk straight ahead, you'll come to the Information Center with a receptionist at the desk to provide directions and assistance. There will also be an improved system of signs throughout the hospital to direct you to your destination. Walking past the Information Center, you'll come to two elevators and a stairwell that can take you up to the patient rooms on the second floor. Near the elevators, there is also a donor wall to acknowledge our major donors.

We'll tour the second floor in our next article.

On the first floor, you'll find the Clinical Laboratory, Women's Imaging Center, Medical Imaging, the Cardio-Pulmonary Suite, Surgical Services, Ambulatory Surgical and Infusion Therapy Services, the Emergency Department, and the café with an outdoor dining patio and the Healing Garden. As you walk down the hallway towards the Cardio-Pulmonary Suite and Medical Imaging, you'll come to an indoor skylight garden that provides natural light in the interior of the building. Also near the skylight garden, you'll find a separate suite for Women's Imaging. As a woman, whether you are coming in for a bone density test, or our advanced digital mammography or ultrasound, you'll have a quiet and calming waiting room just for you.

If you walk back to the lobby area and head in the opposite direction, you'll come to the new expanded Clinical Laboratory. When the existing lab was built, it could support a patient volume of approximately 18,000 tests per month. Today, the Huggins Hospital Lab provides more than 50,000 tests per month. The new lab will include state-of-the-art, computer-driven diagnostic equipment, private specimen collection areas, and expanded waiting and testing areas to meet the growing needs of our patients, physicians and staff.

Just past the lab, you will see a second skylight garden near the Surgical Services Unit and the new café. There will be more information on the Surgical Services Unit in our next article. The new café will have a grill area for made-to-order sandwiches and grill items, a salad bar and daily entrees. Tracy Winship, the Huggins Hospital Food and Nutritional Services Director, has been winning over fans since he arrived a little over a year ago with his innovative entrees and great meal deals. Now Tracy and his staff will have a new kitchen to cook up all sorts of tasty meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Café will also feature an outdoor dining patio overlooking the Healing Garden for the nice weather months and an indoor fireplace for the cold winter months. The café is open to everyone – patients, families, employees, volunteers and the community.

In addition, the Huggins Hospital Food and Nutritional Services Department will begin a room service program in the new facility. Each patient's diet/allergy restrictions and preferences will be logged into the computer system upon being admitted to the hospital. The patient may then order at bedside from a restaurant-style menu. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. So if a patient wants a breakfast item for dinner, it will be available. Each order will also be checked automatically by the computer system for any diet or allergy restrictions and preferences. All food will be cooked to order and guaranteed to be delivered promptly. Staff members in the Food and Nutritional Services Department will deliver the meal to the patient so that they can answer any questions the patient may have about the meal.

Another very important, area on the first floor is the Emergency Department. The current Emergency Department was built to accommodate 16,000 visits annually. Our new state-of-the-art Emergency Department will allow us to see more than 22,000 patients annually. Starting from the outside, there are two dedicated entrances, one for patients arriving by ambulance and another for private vehicles. Both have an overhead canopy to protect from the rain and snow. The entrance is also conveniently located just off South Main Street for ease of access. The new 6,770 square foot Emergency Department will include an expanded triage area for the immediate screening of patients to prioritize their medical needs and decrease waiting time. There will also be 10 private patient treatment rooms and separate designated critical care rooms for patients experiencing major trauma, cardiac arrest or severe cardiac disease. A new dedicated helipad allows for direct access to the Emergency Department and easier transport of critical patients departing from Huggins. The Emergency Department is also situated adjacent to the Surgical Services suite and Medical Imaging creating a more efficient process for the patient.

Many people have asked if Huggins Hospital will hire more staff for the new hospital since it will be larger. The fact is that we have outgrown the current space and regulations have changed regarding patient privacy and safety and infection control that require private treatment areas and private patient rooms. So while the hospital will expand in terms of space and technology, the Huggins Hospital employee base should not need to increase. Our employees are looking forward to having ample space in which to work.

While the oldest part of the hospital will be removed, there will still be sections of the existing hospital that will remain as part of the new facility. The Medical Arts Center with the physician practices will remain with a connecting hallway to the new hospital. VNA/Hospice will move out of their current location in the oldest part of the hospital and into the existing hospital. The Transitional Care Center (formerly "Sinclair B") will remain it its current location and the pharmacy will remain in its current location and expand into what is now the Emergency Department waiting area.

In the next article, we'll visit the Surgical Services area on the first floor and then head back to the elevators and go upstairs to the patient rooms, Observation Unit, Intensive Care Unit and the administrative offices.

If you miss any of the articles in this series, visit the Huggins Hospital Web site at www.hugginshospital.org and click on "Huggins Hospital in the News."

Martin Lord & Osman
Thanks for visiting SalmonPress.com