Hancock Medical Center Expands To Meet Growing Demand

Business is booming at Hancock Medical Center and hospital leaders have the stats to prove it.

"In the last eight years or so, we've grown from 8,000 to 10,000 emergency room visits a year to 25,000 now. Outpatient procedures the same way. But what we have now is one of those problems that a lot of people would love to have, and that's how do you wrestle with growth," Hospital Administrator Hal Leftwich said.

The only answer, he says, is for the hospital to also grow.

The hospital's $8 million renovation and expansion project calls doubling the number of ER treatment rooms from eight to 16. Outpatient services will move to the front of the building.

"We've already started moving some of the departments up toward that front door, the ones that cater to the outpatient. We'll be moving even more over time. You'll be able to come in, register, and within just a few steps, get almost every outpatient service the hospital has to offer."

Hospital operating rooms will also grow in size and numbers. From four to seven, when the expansion is complete.

Long time doctors, like Chief of Staff Thad Carter, say physicians and patients will benefit from that change.

"Our patients will be able to come into the hospital... and get all their lab work, their x-rays, done in a much more efficient manner than it's been in the past. This will also help the flow of patients in and out of the operating room. This helps the doctors, in that we do not have to stand around forever and wait for cases to be done," Carter said.

He says those, and other planned improvements, are designed to meet the demands of a growing community. Expansion and renovation work has already started. It will take between two and three years to complete the project.

by Al Showers