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KVH seeks bond to build new addition

 


As part of its master facilities planning process, Klickitat Valley Health has launched Bold Vision 20/20—a proposed plan for a 24,000 square foot addition funded through a tax-supported bond levy. This bond proposition will be on the August ballot, and the hospital says that will allow it to expand its level of care in the greater Goldendale region.

The KVH Board of Commissioners gave unanimous support of the project with a 100-percent approval vote to approve the Bold Vision 20/20 bond resolution in March of this year.

“We took a very long, and in-depth look at the oldest part of our facility, which is the area of the hospital that includes our patient wing, which also provides transitional care for patients that need more time to heal before going home, hospital pharmacy and surgical services,” said Mark Sigfrinius, Chairman of the Board of Klickitat Valley Health. “That area is part of the original facility constructed in 1949. The cost to update is prohibitive in many ways, and by constructing a modern facility that can handle the latest technology, we gain the ability to expand services which will have a major, positive impact for our patient community in the years to come.”

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of KVH. Following the original hospital construction in 1949, additions have brought new facilities for Emergency Care, Diagnostic Imaging, Physical Therapy, and Family Medicine services. Through a Masters Facilities planning process in 2015, the District identified the next phase of growth as a new wing for inpatient care, transitional care, pharmacy, surgery and nutritional services.

KVH conducted area focus groups and third-party surveys during 2018 to receive community input on which expanded services were most wanted. A regional Community Health Needs Assessment was also utilized in determining the needed facility additions to house expanded services. One of the largest findings came from the Washington State Department of Health, which identified that Klickitat County has a current need for 180 long-term care beds. As of 2018, there are none, pointed out Leslie Hiebert, CEO of Klickitat Valley Health.

“By creating a new Surgical Services and inpatient Acute / Transitional Care wing, we open up long-term beds in the current facility,” said Hiebert. “As our community continues to age, the need for services and access increases. The likelihood of hospitalization increases four times once a person reaches 65. And we are seeing signs of overall population growth with

new projects currently being planned for our region. As we did in 1949, we want to continue that legacy in 2019—and in to the future—of providing capable, quality healthcare to our region.”

Bold Vision 20/20 is the latest project in the District’s rebrand efforts that began in 2018. During that project, a new brand promise was developed: “Making A Healthy Change.” The goal was set of making Klickitat County the healthiest county in Washington. In two years, the county rose from 22th in the state to 17th in health outcomes. “During this campaign, local clinical and specialized services have continued to grow at a consistent rate,” said Sigfrinius.

“A top need identified through the community focus groups and third-party surveys is for more primary care access to help reduce the need for ER visits for non-urgent care that still needed timely attention,” said Hiebert. To meet that need, KVH Family Medicine began working towards opening Express Care inside of the family medicine clinic, which will feature two, dedicated providers taking only same-day appointments. In addition, the program will feature extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, including Saturdays. All current primary care providers will continue to have a few same-day appointment slots in their schedules, with the goal being increased access and a decreased need for ER visits that aren’t true emergencies. “KVH is in the process of recruiting a second provider to launch this new service”, added Hiebert.

Other top needs that came out of focus groups and third-party surveys was a shortage of behavioral health providers, specialty services and specialty providers. Expanding these services would improve access and eliminate travel out of the area.

To meet those needs, KVH Family Medicine is expanding its behavioral health services and it will be the first clinic in the State of Washington to offer Upstream, a patient-centered program that ensures all women have access to the full range of contraception in a single visit. Through a grant, dental services are being developed to help those who do not have access locally.

“We believe that quality healthcare is the heart of a community. When a town—any town—can offer both core and specialized services, it speaks highly of quality of life in that community; plus, it means that most primary medical services are available immediately without a long commute,” said Sigfrinius.

Hiebert also pointed out that KVH has continued to work diligently to provide more specialized care, which can be difficult in a rural setting. Through key partnerships with other area providers, KVH now offers Orthopedics, Podiatry, Pulmonology, and Cardiology.

“All new growth has been carefully guided to meet areas of care that had the highest demand for services. We consider it a privilege to serve the healthcare needs of the greater Goldendale area and we are continuously looking for new ways to advance our goal of making our community healthier. Each day our staff strives to enhance quality care and patient safety; expand the services we provide to better meet the needs of our community; improve patients’ healthcare experiences; and reach out to those homebound or in need. We are proud of what we do—both within the walls here at KVH and outside of them—to contribute to the overall health and wellness of this region,” added Hiebert.

“A rural hospital and clinic is more than just a place where people go to heal or receive treatment when sick or injured,” she added. “We are truly at the heart of contributing physical, emotional and economic health to our community.”

The new addition is expected to provide an additional 22 full-time positions to the staff of over 200 currently employed at KVH. In 2018, KVH provided more than 55,000 treatments through inpatient, outpatient and clinical care and provided care to over 5,000 patients in its Emergency Room, noted Hiebert.

Community meetings will be held though out the summer to provide information to the public on details of this project. The district launched an updated website this year which will serve as the hub for information regarding the Bold Vision 20/20 bond initiative. For more information on district services and Bold Vison 20/20, the district encourages the community to visit its website: KVHealth.net.

 

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