Community members joined with representatives of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System and the Wood County Central Hospital District today to celebrate the opening of the new, state-of-the-art ETMC Quitman.
"For many years, ETMC and the WCCHD have been studying the area's healthcare needs and the potential to build a new, replacement hospital that would best meet those needs for Wood County residents," said Elmer G. Ellis, president and CEO of the ETMC system. "The process was intensive, but thanks to the persistence of both organizations, we stand here today ready to open this beautiful new facility."
"Today, we see a dream become a reality," said Jack Dickerson, president of the WCCHD. "This facility represents a lot of hard work on the part of many people - a worthwhile endeavor that will ensure that healthcare will be provided to the people of Wood County for generations to come."
The facility features a patient-focused design. The spacious lobby houses all the components and services patients and guests will need when arriving: reception and registration; clinic, diagnostic and outpatient waiting; dietary and public dining; access to administration and meeting rooms; and a chapel conveniently located between the lobby and the emergency department. A handsome and meaningful donor wall within the lobby will recognize contributors to the building project and future donors to the ongoing ETMC Quitman Fund.
In addition to the convenience it provides, the lobby also features beautiful aesthetics. Reflecting the environmental nature of Wood County with its famed woods and waters, the finishes throughout the new hospital include natural materials such as wood, stone and live trees and plants, which provide a calming, healing atmosphere for patients and visitors.
The large, cantilevered lobby roof shades the clear glass lobby walls, which provide abundant natural light, and create an open and welcoming feeling. Daylight sensors control motorized window shades to assure proper lighting levels and reduce heat gain and lighting costs.
Outside the facility, special measures were taken to protect the mature forest along the creek behind the hospital. Regional split-face field stone forms a continuous planter around the facility, which is visible from patient rooms, staff offices and public areas of the hospital.
North of the grand lobby
To the north of the grand lobby is the emergency department. It was located nearest Winnsboro Highway to provide optimal visibility and easy access. It features six exam rooms, three observation rooms and two major treatment rooms.
The spacious ambulance canopy and convenient helipad allow the Level IV trauma center to receive and stabilize trauma patients and quickly transport them to a facility providing a higher level of care, if needed.
Located next to the ED is the imaging department, which allows for direct access for ED patients. Imaging services include 64-slice CT, digital mammography, nuclear medicine, X-ray, bone densitometry and ultrasound.
The hospital's surgery department offers two spacious surgery suites that are equipped for a variety of general surgical procedures, as well as orthopedic surgeries. The department also features a comfortable and private area for patients undergoing surgery to consult with their caregivers and complete pre-surgery preparations.
A GI lab and procedures room is located in the surgery department, as is a four-room pre-operative area and a four-room post-anesthesia recovery room.
South of the grand lobby
The ETMC First Physicians clinic in Quitman now will be housed inside the hospital. The clinic has space for eight providers - approximately 10,000 square feet for offices and exam rooms. Four providers are on staff - Dr. Beverly Waddleton and nurse practitioner, Kimberley Lowry, RN, FNP, family medicine; Dr. Rick Martinez, internal medicine; and Dr. Annelise Ribeiro, pediatrics.
Just steps away from the clinic are the full-service lab and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation center.
"We are excited to provide all these services under one roof," said Warren Robicheaux, administrator of ETMC Quitman. "It offers great convenience for the patient and better coordination of care for our providers. Everyone benefits."
East of the grand lobby
At the rear of the lobby is the hospital's dietary department offering a 70-seat, café-style dining area. The dining room will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also will feature a coffee bar. A large garden terrace provides an outdoor dining option when weather permits, and a multipurpose room off the dining area provides a space for staff and community meetings.
In addition, the commercially-equipped kitchen will provide meal service tailored to each patient's physician-ordered diet.
Private patient rooms are the highlight of the east side of the new ETMC Quitman. Twenty-five, spacious, private patient rooms extend along the back of the hospital, each with a wall of windows that provide views of the wooded creek land at the rear of the campus. This provides a level of privacy and serenity to benefit patient recovery.
The main nurses' station is located central to the patients' rooms, with smaller stations located on each end of the patient wing.
How it came to be
Many factors played a part in making the new hospital a reality. In 2012, federal authorities designated ETMC Quitman a critical access hospital. The designation is granted to hospitals that meet several criteria - including being located in a highly rural area - and helps position ETMC Quitman to be financially viable.
Also, several years ago, the WCCHD began purchasing land adjacent to the existing facility. Seeing that the hospital was too small and outdated to remodel or expand, the additional land allowed for a replacement hospital to be built on the adjacent property.
The hospital district also helped secure funding for the project. In November 2012, it issued $35.75 million of tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction. The bonds were assumed and will be payable by ETMC Quitman, under the terms of a new 40-year lease between the WCCHD and ETMC.
While the new facility provides nearly double the square footage of the old facility, it is designed to grow along with Wood County. Mechanical and electrical equipment was sized and selected to provide optimal efficiency and value, along with the capacity to handle future growth and operate effectively in an emergency situation.
The patient unit was designed to expand vertically allowing for the future expansion of additional patient rooms. Clinic, imaging and surgery spaces were designed to allow horizontal growth depending on community needs.
The construction team
The new ETMC Quitman was designed and built by a team of construction professionals, including:
• Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Architects, Engineers and Planners of Minneapolis, Minn.
• Adams Engineering of Tyler, providing civil engineering services
• Vaughn Construction of College Station and Houston, providing construction contracting services
• ETMC Construction Services, providing internal management of all aspects of the project
• In addition, a majority of the subcontractors for the project were local and regional firms. East Texas subcontractors were used whenever possible.
Ellis added that it is unusual and highly significant to have the opportunity to build a new hospital from the ground up.
"In the 62-year history of the ETMC Regional Healthcare System, this is only the fourth time we have opened an entirely new acute-care hospital, with ETMC Tyler, ETMC Athens and ETMC Pittsburg being the other three," he said. "The new ETMC Quitman will stand for generations as a cornerstone of the community-serving as a true lifeline, and contributing to the overall physical and economic health of Wood County. We are grateful to everyone who has played a role in this historic project."