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Hospital focuses on comfort

New digestive center unveiled

STERLING – When the first patients are treated at CGH Medical Center’s new Digestive Health Center on Saturday, not all of the improvements will be visible.

The $2.5 million project, which took nearly a year to complete, was done with the overall patient experience and privacy in mind, said Val Schweiss, director of the Digestive Health Center.

“One of the things I hold dear is privacy,” she said. “It’s not always comfortable for people to be seen here. ... Privacy was a big deal.”

CGH will have a ribbon-cutting for the new Digestive Health Center and an open house today. There will also be a groundbreaking ceremony for the $8 million emergency room renovation.

The new facility was built, in part, for additional space. The old facility saw about 3,300 patients last year, who averaged 3 hours from arrival to departure. The new facility was designed to shorten that time, by creating a more efficient layout, Schweiss said.

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The first change patients and their families see at the Digestive Health Center will be a dedicated waiting room, which will have a TV and a complimentary hospitality cart, with some food and beverages.

Without a waiting room dedicated for the Digestive Health Center, patients often waited in the cafeteria, the emergency room or the main lobby, and were notified a doctor was ready to see them by a pager, similar to those at a restaurant, Schweiss said.

The new entrance is across the hall from the waiting room. To get into the center, non-medical staff have to ring a bell, and the nurses on the inside can use a camera to see who’s at the door.

Inside the center there are nine bays, an increase from the eight in the old center, which was built 18 years ago with six. Two additional bays were added in the last few years, Schweiss said.

As a result, Schweiss said she came up with a color scheme and design – blue and tan with prairie grass imagery – to keep the patients comfortable. The new Digestive Health Center has a different feel and look than the rest of the medical center.

To attend

CGH Medical Center will have a ribbon-cutting and open house for the new Digestive Health Center, as well as a groundbreaking ceremony for the Emergency Department renovation.

The groundbreaking will be at 3:30 p.m. today, at 100 E. LeFevre Road in Sterling.

The ribbon-cutting for the Digestive Health Center will be at 4 p.m., followed by an open house and tour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Emergency room renovation

The $8 million Emergency Department renovation will take between 15 and 18 months to complete and expand the space that was built in 1992, said Dr. Paul Steinke, the hospital's president and CEO.

The emergency room has been upgraded with new equipment over the years. It was built to service 14,000 visitors a year, but last year saw approximately 29,000 patients, Steinke said.

The work will be done in three phases, with the emergency room entrance moving to the hospital's east entrance for the second phase. 

The emergency center will be operational in its current location during the renovations, Steinke said.

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