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Health care facilities expanding, improving
Stronger, healthier every day
HinesvilleVA clinic
The 23,348-square-foot Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Hinesville Outpatient Clinic at the intersection of Oglethorpe Highway and Memorial Drive opened in June. - photo by File photo

Community health-care facilities are expanding, and services are improving for civilians, veterans and military families. Medical facilities on and off post have seen growth in the past year, and more improvements are planned for this year.
According to Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Scott Kroell, recent expansion and renovations at LRMC have resulted in better patient care.
In October 2013, LRMC saw the completion of a 15,700-square-foot expansion to its emergency room and a 15,440-square-foot renovation of the rest of the hospital.
“We have seen an increase in our emergency department business,” Kroell said. “(We) are able to take care of our patients much more efficiently. (Additionally), the adult day health center will open, probably the third week in January. (It will) have a capacity of 50 patients. We hope to expand our rehab capabilities at Coastal Manor next year.”
The 5,000-square-foot adult day health-care facility is being built behind the Coastal Manor Long-Term Care nursing home in Ludowici. Coastal Manor’s chief long-term-care officer, Elise Stafford, suggested a late January or early February opening date. She talked about the services the new facility will provide the community.
“Construction appears to be on schedule,” Stafford said. “I think the end date for the contract is Jan. 17. After that, of course, we have to wait for the inspections before we can move in. The end of January or early February is probably when we’ll open.”
Stafford said they already have appointed a director for the facility. Social worker Rosby Frasier, who has been with Coastal Manor for 15 years, will take charge on opening day, Stafford said.
She said that even though the facility is limited to 50 residents at one time, enrollment is unlimited.
Unlike an adult day care center, Coastal Manor Daybreak, as they intend to call it, will offer two levels of care, Stafford said. The first is mostly supervisory care, or what she called “eyes on you.” The second is a more direct level of care, or “hands on you.”
Fees are based on the level and duration of care (half or full day), she said.
Stafford anticipates 30 jobs will be generated in the community by the adult day health center.
Liberty County veterans also have new, expanded medical facilities. In June, the new Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic opened for business. The 23,000-square-foot facility is nearly five times larger than the temporary clinic that opened in 2011 next to the Georgia Department of Labor.
According to Public Affairs Officer Tonya Lobbestael with the Ralph Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, which oversees the Hinesville clinic, the number of patients seen at the clinic has increased significantly since June.
“The clinic serves 3,328 veteran-patients as of the end of fiscal year 2014,” Lobbestael said. “(That’s) a 40-percent increase in patients served since June. Currently, the VA is recruiting for its fifth primary-care team at the Hinesville VA Clinic. The facility is designed to house six primary-care teams to serve approximately 7,200 veterans in the Hinesville area.”
She said services provided at the clinic include primary care, general mental health, tele-mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder services, homeless services, substance abuse services, tele-health, general radiology, optometry, women’s health and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Seamless Transition services.
She also noted that Johnson VAMC is working with Winn Army Community Hospital to provide tele-mental health care to active-duty soldiers at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, and they’re looking for other ways to collaborate health care with Winn in the future.
A lot of changes are taken place at Winn, too. According to Winn’s facility manager, Brent Rose, expansion and renovation projects at the hospital will ultimately increase the 330,000-square-foot facility to about 450,000 square feet.
“We added what we call the Liberty Wing in December (2013),” Rose said. “It’s approximately 60,000 square feet, and it’s two stories. It houses our physical therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral health.”
Rose said several ongoing projects include both expanding and renovating the cafeteria, phase 2 for expanding the emergency department as well as renovating administrative areas.
“The emergency department is going from 7,500 square feet to 14,000 square feet,” he said. “The current emergency room will be moved to the new addition. What is now the emergency room will become patient administration. The (emergency department) move is going to allow us to do the renovations within the hospital that will involve inpatient and outpatient records, the pharmacy and labs.”
Rose said prior to beginning renovations inside the hospital, the construction areas will be blocked off with temporary walls and plastic to ensure dust does not get into patient-care areas.
He said the remodeling of the cafeteria includes expanding the dining area to about 4,500 square feet and renovating the entire kitchen with all new kitchen equipment. He said the cafeteria project should be completed by June.
Rose said other renovations and expansions include increasing the size of the central energy plant. Additionally, the hospital plans to begin upgrades next month for five of its operating rooms. Other areas will receive upgrades starting in June.
In all, he said about 55,000 square feet of Winn will have been renovated with another 110,000 square feet of new construction added by late 2017. In addition to all the building construction and renovation, Rose said Winn plans to add 225 parking spaces on the north side of the hospital.

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