The facility, he said, was created 70 years ago as a small county hospital. It is now located on a sprawling campus with 250 medical and surgical beds.
Three years ago, Floyd decided to expand its emergency medical services (EMS) into Polk County. Two stations were placed in Rockmart and earlier this year was rolled out in Cedartown.
Construction on a hospital facility is underway in Rockmart across U.S. 278 from Wal-Mart. It will provide not only urgent and primary care but also outpatient rehab and diagnostic services. Hopes are to have the work completed with an opening by the end of the year.
Sweitzer outlined the ongoing process of locating a new hospital and renovating the existing building in Cedartown.
“Although Polk Medical Center (PMC) has been a great facility for a long time,” he said, “it is not large enough nor configured appropriately to accommodate the additional services that the residents of Polk County need or want in their community hospital.”
He said the existing PMC building will be renovated for other uses once the new hospital opens. It is seen as an ideal location for health care and social service programs.
Therefore, a team has been formed to evaluate the adaptive reuse of service programs, including those that Floyd and PMC will want to locate in the building. Input will also be sought from the community about programs that could utilize the building.
About $20,000 per month is going into an account of the Polk County Hospital Authority (PCHA), giving them about $500,000 to renovate the old hospital for community use.
The speaker emphasized that the Polk County Hospital Authority (PCHA) purchased land on 278 between Cedartown and Rockmart to locate the new PMC. It will continue to provide the same services but add others, including surgery.
“Cedartown alone does not have sufficient volume of general surgical patients to attract surgeons to Polk,” Sweitzer said. “We need to draw surgical patients from throughout the county.”
To date, PMC has submitted a Certificate of Need (CON) to the state and hope to have approval by February.
“Our architect is preparing the construction drawings,” Sweitzer said. “We have engaged Duffy Southeast and Brasfield and Gorrie to construct the new hospital, which is estimated to cost about $40 million. If the CON is approved by February, a ground breaking should be held next summer and the building ready for occupancy by the end of 2014.”
The hospital is not all that will be constructed on the U.S. 278 site. Plans are to build an adjacent facility to provide offices for 6 physicians, which could be expanded to 12. Projections are that some outpatient services will also be located in the area rather than at the hospital.
Construction of a medical mall is also planned for the hospital campus. Space is being reserved for other health related and retail services. These could include a pharmacy, medical equipment shop or restaurant developed by local people.
Sweitzer emphasized that Polk County is important to Floyd. It provides emergency, inpatient, outpatient and primary care patients. He said more Polk patients receive their care from FMC than any other provider.
In addition, 340 Polk citizens work at Floyd or PMC.
“We need the clinical, business and technical skills of local residents at FMC,” he said. “The new partnership between PMC and FMC will be beneficial to both facilities, but more importantly to the residents of both counties,” he said.