The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

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By Michele Smith
The Times 

CCHS CEO Shane McGuire provides capital project update

Board position change for 2021


January 7, 2021

DAYTON—On Dec. 16, Columbia County Health System CEO Shane McGuire provided the hospital board of commissioners with an update on projects designed to improve the hospital’s ability to treat COVID-19 patients, as previously reported in The Times on Dec. 10.

McGuire presented the commissioners with “firm” cost estimates for four of the five projects. The Medical Vacuum project, Medical Air project, and the Medical Gas projects came in close to, or below, budget. The new hospital generator was ordered on Dec. 9.

McGuire will be discussing the fifth project with the commissioners in January. He would like for the hallway in the Acute Care/Medical Surgical wing of the hospital to be connected to Hall One at the Booker Rest Home facility to create two more Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms. There are two at the hospital, currently. They are used to isolate patients with infectious diseases and protect people outside the room from exposure.

“We are talking about what those care spaces would look like and are working actively with the engineers right now,” he said.

Funds from the CARES Act grant will be used for that project and the five projects currently underway.

Dental clinic project

The design architect for the dental clinic will begin working with Nelson Construction, Walla Walla. Construction on the clinic will begin in January, and the project will take four months to complete.

McGuire said there is broad support for the clinic from clinic staff and the executive team.

“It makes a lot of sense for the community. It really makes a lot of sense for the service line and whole-person care,” he said.

Assisted living facility project

Ron Asmus, REA, is the construction contractor for the assisted living facility. Asmus has submitted a draft lease agreement for the board’s consideration.

McGuire said he and the hospital District finance manager have discussed the agreement and feel it makes financial sense.

The agreement is for the Health System to lease rooms in the units from the contractor. There are ten rooms in each unit currently planned—the terms of the contract call for monthly payments of $1,200 for each room.

Residents in the first couple of assisted living units will predominantly come from the Booker Nursing Home. The Health System plans to give up its skilled nursing home license, which will allow Medicaid to pay a higher portion of the daily rate for the assisted living facility. Twelve beds for skilled nursing services, which are typically short-term and acute need, are being reserved at the hospital, McGuire said.“We will keep you updated as we move forward with our partners, both locally and at the state,” he told the board.

Board positions

Board President Wes Leid will step down to vice-chair for Year 2021. Vice-chair Bob Hutchens will step up to President. Colleen Sproul will continue to serve as the board secretary. Other board members are Jim Kime and Jack Otterson.

McGuire commended the board of commissioners, saying, “We appreciate every one of you, your participation and how much you have supported us in what most people would say is one of the most challenging years this organization has had.”


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