By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Stillwater Medical Center constantly upgrades hospital facilities and medical equipment to improve patient services, keep up with technology and attract physicians to the community, Administrator Jerry Moeller said.
“You just have to keep renovating or you get behind,” Moeller said. “We have been fortunate with the support we have in Stillwater that we’ve had the financial resources to do that and continue to grow and add the services that we can.”
Moeller, who has served as SMC administrator for 18 years, stopped by the NewsPress video studio Thursday for a “Conversation With” webisode. He discussed hospital renovations, south campus construction, the commitment of hospital employees to the community, the hospital’s selection as the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce’s large industry of the year and the potential affects of ObamaCare on SMC.
The third floor of Stillwater Medical Center is undergoing a major renovation, Moeller said. Room renovations add much-needed outlets, electrical outlets tied to the hospital’s emergency generators and computer connections, Moeller said.
Stillwater Medical Center also has expanded its emergency room because it was outdated and expanded the waiting room adjacent to the front door to keep the north wind from blowing directly into it, Moeller said.
SMC is wrapping up site preparation at its south campus on West 12th Avenue, Moeller said.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a hospital like ours,” Moeller said. ... “A couple of things we are not going to do. We are not going to build a new hospital there, and we are not going to move my office there, and we are not going to build a par 3 golf course.”
SMC will build a support services building, which will consolidate a lot of the departments off campus now. A business office — physician practice management and billing — accounting and home health will be incorporated into one building on the south campus. It also will include medical office space, he said.
“We are designing that building. It is the first thing we will probably build,” he said. “For 20 years, we will have a place to provide medical services — to grow.”
President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act will hurt small hospitals, Moeller said, but he doesn’t anticipate big changes at SMC. Sequestration — mandated across-the-board budget cuts scheduled for March 1unless a federal-deficit reduction packages is approved in Congress — will hit first.
“There are provider cuts — reimbursement cuts to us. It will be about $1.2 milllion. All providers are going to have to do their share. Someone will have to pay more. Someone will have to get reimbursed less because we are in that predicament.”
Federal spending will be cut with or without the Affordable Care Act, Moeller said. “We just need to do our share, and be thinking about how to prepare ourselves to do a little more with less. ... We don’t think it’s a threat to us.”