By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new Patient Care Wing at Mahaska Health Partnership Wednesday afternoon.
Those speaking at the ceremony included Dave Loebsack, Democratic U.S. Congressman from Iowa’s 2nd District. Also on hand were MHP CEO Jay Christensen, Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, MHP Board of Trustees Chairperson Paul Swenson and Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa.
Swenson said the MHP Board of Trustees started looking into the possibility of a new addition a number of years ago. The planning process for the new Patient Care Wing began about 8 years ago, noted Swenson.
The 52,000-square-foot wing has 32 new private patient rooms, three new surgery suites, two endoscopy rooms, a private post an pre-op recovery unit, a new birthing center including five new labor/delivery/recovery suites and a large nursery, said Swenson.
The new facilities will assist the hospital in recruiting new medical providers to the community, said Swenson. New medical services will also be offered, he said. Five new physicians and four new nurse practitioners have been added to the medical campus, Swenson noted.
Krutzfeldt said the opening of the Patient Care Wing is a “major milestone in Oskaloosa's history.”
“So, many years from now, I believe historians will be looking back on these years in Oskaloosa's history,” said Krutzfeldt. “They'll be looking to see why our population increased while other cities of our size were declining. They'll be looking at the actions taken and the personalities of the leaders of the day and clues to our success.
And the answer will be days such as this — when strong leaders made the decision improve healthcare by growing the hospital and made a commitment to do it here.”
MHP is Oskaloosa's number one employer, said Krutzfeldt, who also noted employees contribute to the local economy.
Menner also spoke at Wednedsay's event. Menner said the USDA is financing about $23 million of the new hospital project and that people in small towns deserve quality health care. He said people shouldn't have to go to Iowa City or Des Moines to get health care.
“That's why we finance projects like this all over Iowa and all over the country,” said Menner.
Loebsack spoke about the importance of rural hospitals at Wednesday's event.
Christensen spoke of the need for more space at MHP, which was just one of the motivations behind the new wing. He also noted the larger patient rooms in the new wing, as well as other benefits for patient care there.
“So, the final project is something the community can be proud of,” said Christensen. “It's truly designed with our patients in mind.”
An open house for the Patient Care Wing will be held this Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.