New Health Campus for Avera Gregory Opens
Avera Gregory Hospital is opening a new health campus on 12 acres of land east of Gregory on U.S. Highway 18.
This $39.4 million project integrates a 17-bed hospital, 30-bed long-term care center and Avera Medical Group clinic with 20 exam rooms and two procedure rooms to accommodate local providers and visiting outreach specialists. Long-term care will open Jan. 5 with the hospital and clinic opening in phases over the coming weeks.
Hospital, clinic and long-term care services are moving to the new campus that is approximately one mile east of the existing campus on the west side of town.
“Avera Gregory has a rich history of serving this community across five decades. Yet health care is changing and needs in rural communities are different. We found ourselves out of space for growth. At the same time, repairs needed in our aging building would have been expensive to address,” said Tony Timanus, CEO of Avera Gregory Hospital.
“The concept of a rural health care campus allows us to efficiently integrate all of our care,” Timanus said. “It’s an innovative model in health care delivery that Avera has utilized successfully in other communities like ours.”
Being in the same building allows Avera Gregory to share services like lab and imaging, and care for patients at the most appropriate level of care. “Doing so is simpler when we are co-located as opposed to being in separate buildings,” Timanus said.
With 88,000 square feet, the new building doubles current space and accommodates the latest technology and evidence-based medical practices.
“The entire facility was designed with the latest technology to support leading-edge medical procedures and the many forms of telemedicine, from specialty visits to emergency, ICU, pharmacy, behavioral health, long-term care and more,” Timanus said.
A 24-hour emergency room consists of one trauma room and one treatment room with access to emergency telemedicine services that offer immediate backup and support to the local team. The emergency room has direct indoor access to an ambulance garage and decontamination room in the case of chemical spills. On the roof is a helipad for Careflight, Avera’s air transport service.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite is new to the Gregory hospital, with access to this diagnostic technology seven days a week instead of a once-weekly mobile service offered previously. Other diagnostic technology includes ultrasound, mammography, digital X-ray and CT.
An endoscopic room and large surgical suite allow providers and visiting outreach specialists to perform more procedures locally, preventing patients from having to travel when possible. The on-site dialysis center was expanded from four stations to five, and operates three days a week, with the option of expanding to six days a week to accommodate need. A therapy gym provides flexible space for physical and occupational therapy.
“Recruiting and retaining qualified physicians and medical staff is always challenging in a rural community. We believe this innovative rural health care campus will be a difference-maker in attracting professionals to our community,” Timanus said. “It demonstrates that Avera and our hospital leaders are invested in Gregory for the long-term.”
The Avera Rosebud Country Care long-term care center includes a therapy department, space for activities and recreation, beauty salon and chapel. With this move, the long-term care center is transitioning from a capacity of 45 beds to 30, however, the center has had 30 residents or less for several months. “This new capacity meets our local needs yet reduces building costs and staffing,” Timanus said.
A fund drive has raised $4 million, exceeding the goal of $3 million. Avera is providing $9 million and the remainder is financed over time. “We are amazed at the generosity of many donors who came forward to invest in this project that will help ensure we have state-of-the-art health care, right here in Gregory, for decades to come,” Timanus said.
Avera has a long history of investing in regional facilities like Avera Gregory. “The key reason Avera makes these investments is so residents of our entire region have access to quality health care, in or near their home town,” said David Flicek, President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “We also partner with local physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses who, each day, are delivering care for their friends and neighbors.”
Avera Gregory has been part of the Avera system since 2002, and has been nationally recognized for quality care. “We are grateful to Avera for their strong commitment to strengthening rural health care,” Timanus said.