November 8, 2012 | Volume 42, Number 45

Clinic expansion advances

Improvements under way at the Haines medical clinic will make space for an extended-stay room, as well as add three offices.

Marcia Scott, administrator for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium clinic, said work also will add air conditioning. On warm days, the building is uncomfortably hot, she said. “It’s hot everywhere in this building. In the lab sometimes it’s so hot we almost have to stop running lab tests. In the front office, it’s miserable,” Scott said.

Electrical equipment, personnel and a boiler located under the pharmacy all factor in, she said.

The $1.3 million project, funded by a grant through the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act, will add 750 square feet to the north side of the building that will house the new offices and a new X-ray room.

The former X-ray room will be remodeled into a hospital-like room for long-term patients. The clinic is technically restricted to 48-hour stays, but that rule isn’t always strictly enforced, Scott said. “It gets up there.”

Extended stays are required when weather prohibits transporting patients out of town, and also for patients whose conditions aren’t severe enough to warrant transport but are in serious enough shape to keep under medical watch, Scott said. One patient recently spent 17 hours there, she said.

Previously, extended-stay patients were kept in the clinic’s treatment room, sometimes separated from other patients by just a curtain. “It will be nice to have a special room,” Scott said.

The project also will expand space for physical therapy, recover an exam room that had become an office and make space for computer equipment on the building’s lower floor, Scott said.

The expansion extends to what had previously been the east end of the drive-through ambulance bay. The bay will now be accessed only by a westward ramp.

Work started in August and is expected to be complete by 2013, Scott said. McGraw Construction is the contractor.