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$10.8 million investment

Hospital to consolidate, remodel space; Norma Schmoker Women’s Center among properties for sale

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
As UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center consolidates its footprint, services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, wound care, and lymphedema, will at some point in the future be located at entrance C. Entrance C is located adjacent to the Emergency Room entrance at the back of the hospital.

UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center plans to cut down on its space but not its people or services as the regional hospital looks to become more efficient in its delivery of care.

A 2019 analysis of the hospital’s real estate by the consulting firm Erdman, of Madison, Wisconsin, revealed that there was an excess amount of room for the hospital’s needs.

“We have been working for about two years on a plan to consolidate our square footage,” said Leah Glasgo, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. “We have about 650,000 square feet of real estate (including the main campus and ancillary properties). After an analysis and as things become more efficient and services change, we need about 400,000 square feet.”

As a result, UnityPoint is looking to sell multiple properties. At the same time, it is investing about $10.8 million in its infrastructure. The investment will help the hospital streamline its services, Glasgo said.

The projects will be funded through local capital support from UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. The projects have been approved by the UnityPoint Health system.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
As UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center consolidates its footprint, services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, wound care, and lymphedema, will at some point in the future be located at entrance C. Entrance C is located adjacent to the Emergency Room entrance at the back of the hospital.

The investment includes:

• Renovation and relocation of Norma Schmoker Women’s Center and OB/GYN clinics.

• Renovation of space for physical therapy.

• Renovation and relocation of space for occupational medicine.

• Expansion and remodel of surgery and orthopedic clinics.

-Submitted image
This rendering shows what the new Norma Schmoker Women's Center will look like when it's moved to the main campus of UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center.

“We aren’t stopping any of those services,” Glasgo said. “They will all be consolidated to become more efficient, more convenient for our patients and easier for our staff to work together. Our intent is to make it easier and more personal for our patients.”

While there will be quite a bit of shuffling, Glasgo said staffing will not be reduced.

“There will be no reduction in employees,” Glasgo said. “This will allow us to be more efficient with the staff we have. They will be working together in the same location instead of being in separate locations.”

“Physical therapy, occupational therapy and women’s health services will all be on one campus,” she added. “The intent is really to provide an easier and more personal experience for our patients.”

Team members have been actively involved in the planning of re-envisioned areas of the hospital.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The surgical clinic has been remodeled as part of UnityPoint Health Ñ Trinity Regional Medical Center's facility master plan. It is part of a larger $10.8 million plan to remodel and consolidate existing infrastructure.

“We value our staff’s input because they know best what our patients like and what will work best to deliver the highest quality of care,” Glasgo said. “That’s really important for us that they get to be part of these decisions.”

Between Highland Park, the Norma Schmoker Women’s Center and UnityPoint Clinic OB/GYN, there are 36 team members who will be moving when construction is complete for each respective project.

Here is a brief overview of the projects:

Norma Schmoker Women’s Center

The Norma Schmoker Women’s Center, 625 L St., is listed for sale by the hospital. The listing price is $499,000.

-Submitted graphic
This rendering offers a glimpse of what the new Norma Schmoker Women's Center will look like when it's moved to the main campus of UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center.

According to Glasgo, UnityPoint plans to consolidate those services with obstetrics and gynecology.

“We will consolidate those services with our OB women’s care services and those will all move to the second floor of the main atrium building,” Glasgo said. “All of those women’s services will be together and all in the same location.”

Phillip Nelson, the hospital’s director of facility operations, said the project was put out for bid on Thursday. Bids will close on Oct. 25.

Construction is set to start the week of Thanksgiving, he said. Completion is anticipated as early as August of 2022.

Trinity — Highland Park Campus

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The Norma Schmoker Women's Center is up for sale as UnityPoint Health - Trinity Regional Medical Center looks to consolidate its footprint. The services and employees will be moved to the main campus of the hospital as early as August 2022.

The services at Highland Park Campus, 821 S. 25th St., will be consolidated.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, wound care and lymphedema services all be located on the main Kenyon Road campus.

The services will be accessed at entrance C at the back of the hospital.

Troy Martens, UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge chief operating officer, said easy access for patients who aren’t as mobile was at the top of the priority list when planning new locations for services.

“The public has really enjoyed the Highland Park location because it’s a relatively easy access from their vehicle to the service,” Martens said. “We know that’s important, so the location where we are locating at entrance C — right inside that door is where patients can access these services.”

Nelson reported that construction for the new physical therapy space is set to begin Oct. 25. Estimated completion is July of 2022.

Martens said the eventual sale of the Norma Schmoker Women’s Center and Highland Park building are necessary to meet the hospital’s goals.

“To start our journey of right sizing our facility and our square footage was the divestment of those two off campus buildings,” Martens said.

He said the buildings have been valuable to the organization.

“It isn’t like those buildings we built in the past weren’t needed at the time, but health care has changed how we deliver care so much,” Martens said. “From inpatient to providing care at home. We don’t need as much real estate to provide care anymore.”

The Highland Park building is listed at $1,395,000.

Occupational medicine

Occupational medicine services will move into the UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine — Second Avenue North building.

Construction is underway on that transition.

March of 2022 is the anticipated completion, according to Nelson.

Surgery and orthopedics

The renovation of the surgical services space for general surgery practice and orthopedic practice was completed earlier this year.

Both services are located in the Physician’s Office Building West. Orthopedics is on the third floor. General surgery is on the second floor.

“As those services grew we needed to have them have their own space,” Martens said. “That was part of the $10.8 million to help support that group of surgical services.”

Multi-million dollar investment

The $10.8 million project is part of the hospital’s 20-year master facility plan, which requires a $200 million investment.

“This $10.8 million investment in our infrastructure is really positive,” Glasgo said. “All of the things we are investing in have been in high demand. So we feel like it’s perfect timing to do renovations like this for services that are very much needed in our community.”

At the same time, the consolidation will likely result in savings for the hospital.

“Our goal is to reduce our overhead cost,” Martens said. “Our burden of maintaining and supporting all of that square footage.”

Glasgo reiterated the importance of reducing cost in the coming years.

“This is why we began this process because we know the cost to deliver care is going up in light of workforce challenges and supply costs rising and all of these things that lots of folks are experiencing,” she said. “Any way we can keep our health care delivery system more efficient and make it easier for patients to access and really reduce the costs that we can control. This is a great way to do it.”

The hospital is also looking to sell two spacious lots near Kwik Star, 1606 Triton Drive — one on the east side of the store and the other on the west.

UnityPoint has used Murray Co. as its construction manager for the projects. The firm has offices throughout the Midwest. Allers Associates Architects, PC, of Fort Dodge, and Invision Architecture, of Waterloo, have been hired for multiple projects. Bluestone Engineering, of Johnston, has provided the engineering. Construction will be bid out locally, Nelson said.

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