Clarion Hospital Looks to Trinity Point for Developing Wellness and Specialties
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion County market is a vital part of the Butler Health System (BHS) and its overall strategy for growth, according to Clarion Hospital President Steven Davis in his remarks made to members of the Clarion Rotary Club.
“We account for over 400 jobs and about an $83 million ripple effect on the region’s economy,” said Davis. “Butler has already invested over $20 million in this community and is planning sponsored community-based health screenings. In July, we go live with a completely integrated individual medical health record across the system.”
One of the largest investments was the purchase of the Barnes Center at Trinity Point from the Clarion University Foundation and renovation plans to turn it into the Clarion Wellness Center as part of the BHS.
“I wanted to talk about Trinity Point – what’s going on up there, what we’re doing, how it ties into the community, and how it ties into some of our strategic plans as we hopefully come out of this pandemic and look forward to the future.”
The first thoughts about the possible use of Trinity Point came about a year ago when Butler President & CEO Ken DeFurio was in Clarion, and Davis was giving him a tour of the Health Complex, Clarion’s medical office building across the parking lot in front of the hospital.
“He looked out the window, he saw the three-story former Barnes Center, and he asked what it was,” said Davis. “I told him it might be available and after that, he kept looking out at it from every window. I think he is a visionary guy and understood we have limited space in our health complex. One of our strategic initiatives is to bring as many specialty services as possible to the community.
“The building was purchased in July.”
Planning the Use of the Building
“I’ve been involved in many projects in my time, and one of the things that are always important to me, is you involve the stakeholders in the process, those who are going to be the end-users, and we wanted to draw from a bit of a larger area.
“We were forming the types of programs and services that we were ultimately going to put in the building. Second, we wanted to represent a move toward wellness care in all aspects and innovation to guide us.
“In other words, we didn’t just want to build another medical office building. We wanted to make sure we’re doing something different. We certainly wanted to make sure that we have an opportunity to partner with the community. How are we going to get our community healthy? We want to be the provider of choice.
“We wanted to make sure that what we put in there is designed to meet the consumer’s needs. A big part of it is convenience and access to services in one location.
“Even though you can go to a hospital for most services, some people have a block in their mind about going to a hospital to receive services.
“Some people want to go in for their services and don’t want to be moving around from office to office.
“Planning started in earnest from September through December, including several breakout sessions with stakeholders and the architects. We began the design phase of programmatic planning in December through January. Stakeholders signed off on the final plan in February. We received board approval and planned to open the building in late August or early September.”
On the first floor, the focus is going to be diagnostic services. You will be able to come in there and get just about any diagnostic service you can imagine. One side that’s designated for women’s health diagnosis and another side that’s general diagnostic.
“We ended up doing an addition to the building, and the north end of the building has about 2,500 square feet of added space. That’s going to accommodate a center gym and a conference room, and then there’ll be a healthy food kiosk.
The idea is part of the wellness component. It will only offer healthy foods, so no sodas or anything like that.”
“The second floor will be dedicated to our residency program because we want to continue educating future providers in our area. Clarion has a family medicine residency program that’s been around for over 30 years. I think we have the highest pass rate in the nation for family medicine, and many of those residents have stayed in the area to provide care to the local community and the Butler Health System.
“When we joined the Butler Health System, this was an essential part of their strategic plan in the future. Family Medicine was a way for them to make sure that we invest in our providers. We have a place for them that is state-of-the-art and allows us to continue attracting the best and the brightest.
“The second floor is designed for maximum function in terms of patient and staff flow, but on any given day, we’ve got medical students, we’ve got a total of 16 residents. So, at any given time, it could be, we’ve had as much as five or six residents in there. There are also faculty who teach the residents, and we see many patients through this space.”
“On the third floor, we have two sections. One is Women’s Healthcare, and the other is a multi-specialty space, primarily around cardiovascular services. Pulmonology, Emergency Action Plan, cardiovascular – This is something that we do have now, but we’re going to continue to expand that presence because right now, we don’t have the space to do that.
“We’ve also expanded into this gym space and a conference room. One of the themes throughout the building is the multi-use of space. For example, in the resident conference room, we envision that as something that we can partner with the community, do community education. It also includes a demo kitchen, which will be part of our planned Food Institute.
“We don’t have cardiac rehab in this area right now, and it will be available on the left side of the addition. We get calls probably weekly from patients who have had some interventional cardiovascular service. There’s no place here in Clarion or the surrounding area for them to get better cardiac rehab. The other component is the healthy lifestyle, working with people to try to get people moving, get people healthy on that journey.
“You have to start somewhere. We also envision working with the YMCA, and we look at our component as Phase One. Sometimes people aren’t comfortable going to a gym. It’s intimidating; they’re not familiar with the equipment, and it’s not something they’ve done.
“Our role is just to get them moving, get them comfortable with it, do some education. Phase Two and Three would be something that could involve the Y team.
“You might notice that the waiting rooms are not particularly large in this building. The way I’ve always looked at that is if you build a vast waiting room, they’re going to wait. That’s not what we expect you to do.
“There are some pretty innovative things that we have going on here. We are looking into digital registration. It may be some hybrid registration, but you’ll get a notice when you’re ready to go back upstairs to one of the other spaces. And, we know that not everybody will adopt this, so it’ll have to be some hybrid, but the idea is we’ve looked at two or three companies already. The idea is you will be able to register with your phone.
“This influenced how we designed some of the waiting room space that allows us to have more space for actually caring for patients.”
Asked about the decision to eliminate the maternity ward while increasing women’s health services, Steven offered some observations.
“Women’s health includes a lot more than just labor and delivery. It’s one component and an important component. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions long before Butler Health System became part of us.
“When I got here, we were in the pharmacy business, and now we’re largely out of the retail pharmacy business. The thing about labor and delivery is that there are so many components to it that people don’t understand. At the end of the day, as we look at our services, we have to identify the needs and future needs.
“What are the demographics? What’s our ability to maintain the competencies? Can we safely deliver care? The reality is that the numbers have gone down year after year regarding women delivering babies at Clarion.
“There are 30,000 women in our primary and secondary service area. We do intend to continue with obstetrics in some ways. I know the providers that we have, we see the network we have, and it’s a bit of an experiment; we have got to make sure that we have other wraparound services and can provide transportation and other things.
“When you’re sometimes delivering six babies a month, we have limited resources. We have to figure out where we’re going to put those resources to continue to care for and meet the needs. It’s unfortunate. A lot of the younger people have left the area, and that’s our reality. I don’t know why. But, we’re working very hard to reverse that trend.
“I can tell you we have fantastic providers. I would send any one of my family members to our providers. It’s not about that. It’s about future sustainability.”
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