Piedmont Newnan Hospital: It's a new era of health care

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A public open house for the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital at Poplar Road and I-85 will be 1-4 p.m. on March 24. Cowetans will be able to get a first glimpse of the brand new hospital, which is scheduled to open later this spring. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the main entrance at 2:15 p.m.

By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com A new era in health care for Coweta County is one step closer to reality. Last week, officials of Piedmont Newnan Hospital took possession of their showroom-new, state-of-the-art hospital from KBR Building Group, which has been in charge of the project since ground was broken on the new facility more than two years ago.
"Everywhere I go people are excited at what they have seen going up here on Poplar Road," said Michael Bass, president and CEO of Piedmont Newnan Hospital. "I know the community is excited and ready to see and understand what's behind these walls." The 364,000-square-foot, nine-story facility will house 136 beds and 23 Emergency Department treatment rooms. The new Piedmont Newnan Hospital will officially open its doors to patients in May 2012. All rooms at the new hospital will be private and have large windows, following the findings of studies showing that patients heal faster and staffers work better when surrounded by an abundance of natural light. The new PNH site also includes a four-acre fish pond. Bass praised KBR Building Group for their efforts in constructing the new facility in a timely and professional manner. KBR Building Group is a diversified construction services company serving commercial, healthcare, institutional and industrial clients. John Bruce of KBR, served as the PNH project superintendent. "I can't say enough about the cooperation and help we received from Michael Bass and his team," Bruce said. "You always have issues that come up in a project this size, but we have people in place to take care of those issues." Bruce said the combination of exterior materials, including brick, stone and glass, presented construction challenges, but said all potential problems were worked out smoothly with the architects and in the end, everything worked out well. "At the end of any project you struggle to make sure all the little things are punched out and everything is cleaned up and ready for the opening," Bruce said. "But everything went off well." Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority, visited the completed facility this week and said the hospital will be a major boost for the local economy. "People can't wait to get a look at it," Wright said. "Health care is a big reason why businesses choose to locate in an area and with this hospital we'll have the finest facilities anywhere. This is definitely going to set us apart from other communities." The public will get a first chance to view the new hospital on Saturday, March 24, during a community-wide "Preview Celebration." The event will run from 1-4 p.m., with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony occurring at 2:15 p.m. Off-site parking and shuttles will be available at Ashley Park and will run throughout the duration of the event. The Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary will sell a limited edition, commemorative ornament at the event. This pewter replica of the new hospital will be sold for $15. Proceeds will benefit the PNH Auxiliary, which serves the needs of the hospital. Michael Bass said he believes the community will be pleasantly surprised when they finally see the new facility. "We know for a fact that it's much more than people had even hoped for," Bass said. "We know when the public gets to see it they will know that Piedmont is doing a lot more than anyone expected. The scale and the finish are just overwhelming." Now that hospital officials finally have possession of the facility, work has begun to make sure all equipment is installed and tested and all employees are familiar with the new facility and new technology. Building orientation of all hospital employees, physicians and volunteers will continue through the end of the week of March 19. Workplace organization activities begin in early April. Teams of employees will work together to stock departments, units and patient rooms with appropriate supplies. "Prototype" rooms will be set up and room "clones" will be created based on the prototype rooms. This will promote greater standardization and efficiency in workflow processes. A vendor fair will take place early April, allowing employees to meet with medical vendors to familiarize themselves with new equipment in the building. Department-specific orientation will take place in all departments to ensure that employees, physicians and volunteers are well-versed in the layout of their departments and the new work flows and operations in their new areas. "Simulations" will occur, including all emergency codes and drills, so that all employees know exactly what to do and where to go in the new building in the event of a code or emergency. Bass said the schedule is packed in the days ahead, but the staff is up to the challenge. "There are bound to be a few glitches," he said. "You expect that with any new project. But the glitches will be minor and they will not affect patient care. The staff has done a great job of making sure everything gets done, and I know we will be ready." From the time work began on the new hospital, officials said one of their major goals was recapturing many of the Coweta County residents who presently leave the county for health care. They hope that within the next five to 10 years the vast majority of Coweta residents will utilize PNH for their health care services. Today, that goal looks more realistic than ever.


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