Ozarks Medical Center Dedicates New Emergency Department

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson leads the ribbon cutting of the new Ozarks Medical Center emergency department in West Plains.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson leads the ribbon cutting of the new Ozarks Medical Center emergency department in West Plains.

The dedication of a new 16-bed emergency department at the Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains also represents the first project completed under the CFO’s new Mission-Related Investment program focusing on the “double-bottom line” of investing in our own communities.

The facility, which will open for patients at 7 a.m., Tuesday, July 20, offers improvements such as individual rooms for patient privacy that surround a nurse’s station with state-of-the-art patient tracking. Each patient room also has its own cardiac-monitoring system, access to portable imaging equipment, and EKG monitoring capabilities to speed up response time for potential cardiac patients. The previous facility had one EKG system that was shared among the treatment rooms and some of its 12 treatment rooms were separated only by curtains, which gave patients less privacy.

Two of the rooms are larger for major trauma cases and another room is equipped as a haz-mat facility if decontamination is necessary. Two of the rooms also are designed as “negative pressure” spaces for infectious patients where the contaminated air is prevented from reaching other parts of the hospital.

Construction of the new emergency room began more than five years ago. The shell of the building was completed in 2005, but challenging economic conditions and access to financial markets halted construction. In 2009, the CFO made its first mission-related investment – a $1 million low-interest loan. The hospital also received a $500,000 federal grant and the Ozarks Medical Center Foundation has raised $2 million toward its $3 million capital-campaign goal.

Construction resumed last August; the Sunday, July 18, dedication took place two months ahead of the estimated completion date. OMC President and CEO David Zechman noted with pride that 87 percent of the contractors for the project were from the West Plains area.

CFO Board member Dusty Shaw, also on the OMC Foundation Board, recognized the CFO’s role during his remarks at the dedication ceremony. New CFO Board Chairman David Pointer also was recognized as the hospital’s legal counsel.

The goal of the Mission-Related Investment initiative is to invest up to 2 percent of the CFO’s assets for low-interest loans for community needs when conventional financing options are not available.