Bellin’s Oconto clinic to merge with hospital

OCONTO – On Monday, Aug. 13, when Bellin Health Oconto Hospital opens its doors as a newly-remodeled health care facility, it will share the occasion with another long-standing community resource.

That resource, Bellin Health Family Medical Center-Oconto, is scheduled to move into the remodeled hospital before the site’s August 13 soft opening – a strategic launch with little fanfare designed to allow staff to get familiar with the new layout. The family medical center will be called Bellin Health Oconto Clinic.

“You plan for it. You go through all the design, and then the day comes when your project is complete,” said Laura Cormier, vice president of Operations at Bellin Health Oconto Hospital. “You go from seeing the artist’s rendering to seeing the actual building, and it’s as if the artist’s rendering has come to life. It’s just a beautiful building.”

The $15 million, year-long project to expand Oconto Hospital, 820 Arbutus Ave., added approximately 45,000 square feet of space to the initial 11,000-square-foot site.

The expanded Oconto Hospital is a source of pride for the local region, Cormier said.

“The community is very excited,” she said. “It’s a destination now when you’re out for a drive. I have probably one to three people a week telling me they’re waiting to have their (non-urgent) medical procedure done until they can do it here.”

The hospital’s expansion and the plan to merge the Green Bay-based health system’s Oconto clinic within the facility have created nervous, but excited energy among staff members, Cormier said.

“The excitement level is exceptionally high,” she said. “For a long time we’ve functioned in a facility about one-fifth the size of this expanded building. That’s changed. Now there’s much more room to provide local health care services. That’s good for us and better for our patients.”

Part of that expanded space is dedicated to Bellin Health Oconto Clinic, Cormier explained. Physicians Robert Cavanaugh, Charles Heyka, Timm Missbach and Lisa Allen and physician assistant Amanda Westmoreland will continue to provide medical services for Bellin Health Oconto Clinic patients, she said.

Cormier lauded the community’s support of the expansion project.

“This has been a communitywide effort to get this done through our partnership with the Oconto Hospital Citizens Foundation,” she said. “The support has been tremendous and truly valued. Without the support of our local leaders, partners, donors and the entire community using our current facility, we would not be successful in this venture.”

The hospital currently serves 7,000 patients annually. That number is expected to rise to 16,000 patients as a result of the expansion. The hospital will increase its staff size from about 40 to 80 staffers.

“The biggest benefit is increased local services,” Cormier said. “There will be little reason to travel out of our community for quality service. It’ll be offered right here. We’ll provide Bellin’s top-quality services without the added strain of travel.”

Some of those services include:
•    Primary care clinic
•    Behavioral health therapy services
•    Colonoscopy and other gastrointestinal services
•    Cardiac echograms and exercise stress testing
•    Expanded infusion care, including chemotherapy
•    Specialist services, office visits and outpatient procedures (including orthopedics, cardiology, gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery, ENT, urology and oncology)
•    In-house pharmacy
•    Six-bed inpatient unit

And services already in place will expand, Cormier added. That includes, but is not limited to:
•    Imaging
•    Lab
•    Therapy services
•    IV infusion

Outpatient surgery services will be available as of October 1. Dental care, offered through a partnership with Northern Health Center in Lakewood, will be available at the hospital in October or November.

For more information, call Bellin Health Oconto Hospital at (920) 835-1100.