Hospital drafts $16M plan to add surgical robotics, match volume hikes

Practice Management

Hartford, Ky.-based Ohio County Healthcare plans to make room for robotics and meet higher demand with a new $16 million surgical department, according to the Messenger-Inquirer.

Construction on the surgical unit will tentatively begin in spring 2021, taking an estimated 18 months to complete.

The unit will double the hospital's operating room space, accommodating robotic surgery equipment and matching significant volume increases over the past three decades, CEO Blaine Pieper told the Messenger-Inquirer.

The project will cost $16 million — including $4 million earmarked for equipment — with financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

OCH hired general surgeon John Jeffries, MD, in October 2019 in preparation for the new suite.

Because part of the hospital will need to be vacated during the expansion, the system's board has OK'd moving the hospital's four-bed intensive care unit into a new suite of negative pressure rooms for $500,000.

The move would also facilitate a safe environment for COVID-19 patients, Mr. Pieper said, but the project is still pending final state approval.

If approved, construction on the high-acuity suite could start within a month and take up to three.

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