By Karen Gorby
Chief Executive Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, Angel Medical Center
November is the month when we traditionally reflect on all we are grateful for, so I want to provide the community with an update on something that I’m grateful for, and that is our new Angel Medical Center. The project is in full swing and there are a number of required steps even before the first shovel of dirt is turned. Building a new hospital requires approval from the state, the Town of Franklin, and Macon County. Before we can even seek approval, a preliminary space plan has to be developed and services defined.
The state approved our Certificate of Need for the hospital in early 2018. Next, we had to apply for a Special Use Permit from the Town of Franklin. I’m happy to report that we received unanimous approval for our Special Use Permit from the Franklin Town Council on Sept. 3. This means that the site we’ve chosen to build the new facility on has been deemed suitable. The new hospital will be at the intersection of One Center Court Drive, right below the Entegra Bank’s headquarters.
It’s natural that many have wondered if and why we need a new facility. My answer is a resounding “Yes!” Our current facility was built in the 1950s and has been added onto multiple times over the decades. It’s now outdated in many ways, and some are related to architectural integrity and safety. Another important consideration is that our patient rooms are about 60 percent smaller than what is recommended for modern spaces to accommodate Patient/Family care. Additionally, there have been many changes in healthcare delivery that depend on technology, and it is difficult to support those programs in the current hospital. Finally, when we analyzed the costs of renovating our current hospital versus building a new one, it was apparent that renovation would be far more costly.
The new AMC will offer all the same services, programs, and education that we currently provide to patients, but within a much more efficient, environmentally sound, and modern hospital. Some of the exceptional features the new facility will have include:
- 25 Inpatient beds
- 5 Observation beds
- An Emergency Department with 17 exam rooms; two will be devoted to trauma care and four will be dedicated to those in need of behavioral health services
- Three Operating Rooms
- One endoscopy room
- A full scope of imaging services including MRI, nuclear medicine, and mammography
- State-of-the-art medical equipment and technology
We will also have an expanded and enhanced dietary services department, pharmacy, and lab services, as well as a new helipad for MAMA patient transport.
Our own community’s healthcare needs have been used as the foundation for the new facility’s design. Also, the hospital will be designed to adapt to the future needs of our community. It will have the capability to grow in whatever ways we need as community demands change.
Finally, I’ve also received questions about why the estimated cost of the project, which was originally about $45 million, is now $69 million. The increase factors in all the new medical equipment, new facility equipment, increasing construction costs and the HCA model for construction.
I am so grateful that the Town of Franklin and the surrounding Macon County will be able to experience a new, state-of-the-art healthcare facility that will be the cornerstone for our healthcare in the future. We expect to break ground on the new facility in 2020 and the estimated completion date is late 2022. The new Angel Medical Center will ensure that our patients can continue getting first rate care and that we can meet our community’s future needs, whatever they turn out to be.
Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.