New hospital ready to open

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By Cindy Simpson

Roane Medical Center’s new Midtown facility is almost ready to open. The finishing touches are being put on the state-of-the-art medical complex.
“We move patients on Feb. 17. It is on a Sunday morning bright and early,” said Gaye Jolly, Roane Medical Center administrator.
Before then, the hospital will have a public open house on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The celebration will include remarks from Tony Spezia, Covenant Health president and chief executive officer, as well as Jolly.
The campus includes a 145,000-square-foot hospital and 26,000-square-foot professional office building.
With the new facility comes better equipment and technology and the convenience of easy access for patients.
“We are getting almost all new technology so almost all of our equipment is going to be brand new,” Jolly said. “All new hospital beds. When you have new hospital beds you are less likely for patients to get bed sores and things like that.”
Also new will be a heart cather-tization lab, new nuclear medicine cameras and new surgery suites.
 “They are very spacious,” Jolly said.
Jolly said Roane Medical Center had a cardiac catheterization lab long ago but quit offering the service. Cardiac catheterization is a way to diagnose and treat some heart conditions.
The facility will also include enlarged and modern nursing units and patient drop-off and pick-up areas.
Jolly said the emergency department is much larger with 15 suites.
“We have more emergency rooms, so there will be more accommodations to get more patients back more quickly,” Jolly said.
Better access is perhaps the biggest asset for those coming to the hospital.
The location close to the interstate and more centrally located in Roane County may be one of the biggest draws.
“Parking is so convenient, and it is level so it is very handicap accessible,” Jolly said. The lot has more than 500 parking spaces.
The building is also designed to be patient and visitor friendly, with generous waiting areas.
Jolly said computers in the rooms allow medical personnel to update charts electronically there.
“Also, when they get medicines, the patient armband will be barcoded, the medicine will be barcoded. So you scan the patient, scan the medicine  so you don’t make medication errors,” Jolly said.
Another convenience is having the inpatient physical therapy upstairs so patients have less distance to travel.
Despite the convenience, extra security measures have been taken.
“We have a lot of controlled access, so patient privacy is protected,” Jolly said.
Services that will continue at Roane Medical Center include the new digital mammography.
“Women are always interested, do you have digital? We do. You get better pictures,” Jolly said.
The outpatient physical therapy area of the hospital will include a therapeutic pool, an asset for physical therapy recipients who will be visiting the outpatient wing.
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is getting some new workout equipment in its spacious location in the professional office building.
The cafeteria is named Three Rivers Cafe after the three rivers in the community, and the community is welcome to eat at the facility.
Creating an environment that brings the communities together is an important aspect of the new facility.
Jolly said she’s been at many functions where she’s been told the hospital would do a lot to bring communities together.
One way to honor the communities is through artwork.
“We have implemented some photos of historical buildings and things throughout the different cities. I thought that was kind of a neat touch,” said Jodi Harris, a marketing and public relations coordinator.
The Stowers Rotary Community Room is a large meeting space made available thanks to the donations of the Harriman Rotary Club.
The room includes audio-visual equipment, and many in the community are anxious tto use it.
“We already have a waiting list,” Jolly said.
The Covenant Health board, made up of the chiefs of staff of each hospital, community members and executive leaders, will be holding its meeting there Feb. 4.
“That is kind of a big deal for us,” Jolly said.
Jolly, who took over last year after the retirement of longtime administrator Jim Gann, is delighted to be overseeing a brand new hospital.
“It is just an opportunity of a lifetime; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “Very few hospital administrators get to move to a brand-new building and just get to sort of start from scratch.”