You wouldn’t build a house without seeing the plans. We understand that nobody wants to build a hospital that way either. So back in the late 1990’s, JJCA collaborated with a planning team that consisted of Jim Henry, Bill Trivett, and Jack Owenby – owner’s reps with decades of industry knowledge and lessons learned – to develop a prototype plan for an affordable and efficient small, rural replacement hospital. We knew if we could show hospitals a plan, we could help them visualize an affordable solution to legacy issues plaguing aging facilities.
Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, Texas was the first of a number of hospitals that would benefit from a plan that incorporated design features quite innovative in the years prior to critical access hospitals. Understanding that labor costs comprise the majority of a hospital’s expense, much thought was put into optimizing staff efficiency. Proper handling of patient and staff traffic flow was key. A centralized desk would serve inpatient, outpatient and emergency registration. On the other hand, properly separating the entrances for ambulance traffic from drive-up traffic reduced staff expense as it allowed for higher-security and safety measures needed for ambulance traffic to be limited to a designated area. Similarly, separating medical services from support services – such as administration, housekeeping, and medical records – allowed for building standards to be aligned with codes in a cost effective manner.
Some years later, when changes in government regulations gave rise to the critical access hospital, we put our prototype experience to work again to create a new plan that debuted with Shoshone Medical Center in Idaho in 2005, and has provided a solid base for several additional facilities since.