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Open house Friday for new SLCH surgery suites
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Open house Friday for new SLCH surgery suites

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LEBANON — The public will get a rare opportunity to view Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital’s new surgery center from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday before the complex is buttoned up, sanitized and put off limits to all except patients and staff.

The hospital is at 525 N. Santiam Highway. Snacks will be available and door prizes will be presented during the open house.

Hospital CEO Marty Cahill said the first phase of a three-phrase, $11 million construction and technology project is relatively on time and budget.

“We will finish construction this week, have the open house and then deep clean the area,” he said. “We plan to open the surgery center about Oct. 24.”

Cahill said the first phase went well since it is all-new construction. It includes two new surgery suites that are larger than the previous suites to allow for updated equipment that will hang from the ceiling instead of resting on the floor and more room for staff, including medical school students.

“We see this as an opportunity to train our future doctors in a rural setting, since that is where many of them will work,” Cahill said. “This project should allow us to meet the needs of our patients for the next 20 years.”

Cahill said the hospital had been functioning with one surgeon, but in the last two years, has added two more surgeons.

“Before, with one surgeon, it was impossible to schedule operations daily, but now, we can do surgeries 365 days a year. Some of those will come from within the Samaritan Health system, but we anticipate others would have gone to Eugene or Salem.”

Cahill said the hospital has seen a 25 percent increase in emergency room visits in the last four years. He previously said that a new Urgent Care complex that was constructed on the Samaritan Health Sciences Campus across Highway 20 from the hospital, is seeing more than 100 people per day as well.

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Also being added are surgery recovery rooms and 14 private Same Day Surgery patient rooms.

Cahill said the first phase of construction encompassed 12,000 square feet and the second and third phases, which will be to remodel the current surgery and emergency departments into 21 private emergency rooms, including two large trauma rooms, will also be about 12,000 square feet.

The project more than doubles the space in the emergency department, which has 12 emergency rooms and is about 25 years old.

Cahill said he anticipates the second phase of the project will be completed by mid-2017 and the third phase by December 2017 or early 2018.

In 2015, some 1,722 patients were admitted to the 25-bed hospital. There were 20,000 visits to the emergency department and 2,600 surgeries performed.

Cahill said overall construction costs were budgeted at $9 million and $2 million was budgeted for new equipment. The equipment portion of the project is being paid for by a pledge from the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital Foundation.

The project that began in 2015 also includes construction of a new helipad for air ambulance services.

The current Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital campus was built in 1952. The hospital was located in what is now the teen center for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam.

Local supporters raised $558,000 and the community qualified for a $193,000 grant from the federal Hill-Burton Act. The Act allocated $1.33 billion to help construct 1,800 hospitals across the U.S.

Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital was the 1,000th hospital constructed through the program.

Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.


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