OCONTO – An upcoming expansion of Oconto Hospital & Medical Center will keep more health care services local, hospital representatives say.
Oconto Hospital & Medical Center, 820 Arbutus Ave., Oconto, will expand from 11,000-square-feet to more than 46,000-square-feet, according to Laura Cormier, vice president of operations. The $15 million expansion project, being backed by Bellin Health and community support, will create 55 new jobs for Oconto County.
Work will begin shortly after a Wednesday, Sept. 7 groundbreaking ceremony. The project is expected to take one year, with completion in 2012.
“This project is part of our vision to ensure that the people in our region will be the healthiest in the nation,” said George Kerwin, president and CEO at Bellin Health. “Bellin Health is committed to the success of this project and the positive impact it will have on Oconto County.”
The current facility – built in 2005 as a partnership between the Oconto Hospital Citizens’ Foundation and Bellin Health – offers emergency care, therapy, diagnostic services (CT, X-ray, ultrasound, and laboratory), designated hours of urgent care, sleep study, telemedicine, inpatient and swing bed care (hospital beds that can be used either for acute care or long-term care), and other basic services.
The hospital and medical center serves 7,000 patients annually. That number is expected to rise to 16,000 patients as a result of the expansion project.
With the planned expansion, the hospital and medical center will be able to offer additional services at the local level, Cormier said. Those include:
• Primary care clinic
• Outpatient surgery
• Colonoscopy and other gastrointestinal services
• Cardiac echograms and stress testing
• Expanded infusion care, including chemotherapy
• Expanded behavioral health services
• Specialist services including orthopedics, cardiology, gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery, ENT, urology and oncology
“Specialty providers will come to our community to provide health care services instead of the community having to travel to see them,” said Dr. John Honish, president of the Oconto Hospital Citizens’ Foundation. “We’re going to provide enhanced, high-quality, affordable health care in our own back yard.”
The Oconto Hospital & Medical Center, in partnership with the Bond Community Center, offers an array of programs and activities to help meet the community’s broader health and social needs. Such programs include educational outreach, health screenings and support groups as well as free clinics and vaccinations.
“This project will better aid our efforts to provide convenient local health care services for our region,” Cormier said. “We’ll eliminate many instances where patients have had to leave the community for care with our improved ability to offer rotating specialists and services.”
About Bellin Health
Bellin Health, www.bellin.org, is an integrated health care delivery system based in Green Bay, Wis. It has serviced people in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since 1908. It is comprised of Bellin Hospital, Bellin Psychiatric Center, 29 Bellin Health Family Medical Center primary care physician clinics, and several retail health clinics known as Bellin Health FastCare. Bellin also operates Bellin Health Partners, a physician-hospital organization with more than 208 specialty physician members, the Oconto Hospital & Medical Center, a critical care access hospital in Oconto, Bellin Fitness Center with four locations, and Bellin College. With its 3,080 employees, Bellin Health is known for its emphasis on preventive health care and is the region’s leader in cardiac, orthopedics, sports medicine, digestive health, mental health, and primary care medicine.
About the Oconto Hospital Citizens’ Foundation
The Oconto Hospital Citizens’ Foundation is a partner with Bellin Health in the ownership of the Oconto Hospital & Medical Center. The Citizens’ Foundation is designed to secure long-range financial stability and establish hospital board governance through the people of Oconto. This partnership arrangement ensures part ownership of the hospital remains local. Local governance assures decision-making that best serves the interests of Oconto. There are 22 local citizens serving as board members of the foundation. Dr. John Honish serves as president of the foundation board. The foundation will be kicking off a capital campaign and gift request to support the expansion project.