CMC Foundation Saves Speciality Clinic

By Nikki McKim
When  Community Medical Center in Falls City celebrated its sixth birthday late last year, they realized that they had outgrown their 68,000 square feet of living space. CMC’s Board of Directors gave their stamp of approval on a multi-million dollar upgrade that would give the facility the space to ensure there was room for the doctors and practitioners.
CMC announced earlier this year-a $9 million project to add a new primary care clinic, expand and renovate surgery, add in-house MRI, and expand and renovate the clinic area for visiting out-of-town specialists. The project was to be funded from hospital reserves, set aside for that purpose, and ground broke on the project in May.
Unfortunately, as final bids came in for the project, along with unexpected engineering needs, project costs rose to just over $10 million.
Faced with this overrun, hospital administration prepared a plan eliminating the Speciality Clinic renovation, costing $778,000, from the project. The Board’s Construction Committee did not like the recommendation, however, as Committee Members, made up of Board, Medical Staff, and community members, felt that Speciality Care improvements were an essential part of the project. The Committee recognized, however, that financial issues were also important. The issue was taken to the full Hospital Board.
The Specialty Clinic alone didn’t raise the total to $10 million.
“The engineers had recommended adding a back up chiller, we’ve had some instances where when its gone down-not often, but we’ve had some very warm patient rooms in the summer and they recommended that, so that’s the other part that takes it up to the $10 million mark,” said Larsen.
As the CMC Foundation Board became aware of the issue, Foundation Board President, Rodger Merz, had an idea. He felt that community support for the Specialty Clinic would be strong enough that donations could be raised to fund the clinic portion of the project while allowing the hospital not to exceed its budget capacity. The Foundation Board was polled and voted in favor of the action.
“The Governing Board said if the Foundation thinks they can do this, they have a great track record, they are willing to keep the Specialty Clinic expansion in the project,” said Ryan Larsen, CMC Administrator.
At the Community Medical Center Board meeting, as the Board weighed the recommendations of the Construction Committee and Administration, the Foundation Board’s offer was heard. After deliberation, it was accepted.
Expansion and renovation of the Specialty Clinic is scheduled to begin in the third phase of the project, in the Fall of 2017. The Foundation Board is creating a plan to raise the amount needed by that date. Though early in the process, support has been high, with several individuals and families coming forward to make contributions. But the Foundation Board questioned what if the goal isn’t met in time to break ground?
“It’s a challenge,” said Larsen
“We know they’ll hit the goal, but if its a little short is that going to be a problem? Well, the Board will meet. This part of the project beings a little over a year from now in the fall of 2017. So we can gauge how the fundraising is gone as well as the fiscal status of the hospital at that time and if we need to make a decision we can do it then.”
The CMC Specialty Clinic hosts about 4,500 patient visits each year, in areas such as cardiology, ear-nose-throat, gynecology, vein surgery, rheumatology, nephrology, podiatry, and ophthalmology, with volume increasing each year.

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