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A Promise Made, A Promise Kept

06/22/2015 12:21PM, Published by Aubray Onderik, Categories: Entertainment

By: Donnie Byers

            It wasn’t long after his arrival that Cape Fear Valley CEO Mike Nagowski began turning his attention westward toward Hoke County. The area was experiencing explosive growth, thanks to a housing boom and rapid influx of new troops to the region.

            Yet, the rural county had few local physicians, even fewer specialty practices, and no hospital of its own. So Nagowski pledged Cape Fear Valley resources to try to change the situation.

            He began delivering on those promises with the opening of Health Pavilion Hoke. The state-of-the-art outpatient center opened in the spring of 2013, housing an ExpressCare, Hoke Primary Care, Hoke OB-GYN, retail pharmacy and imaging services department.

            The three-story facility was built on a 60-acre medical campus off U.S. 401, west of the Hoke-Cumberland County line. Its central location allows it to not only serve Hoke County, but also southwestern Cumberland County and Fort Bragg.

            But the hospital has always been the main attraction. The mere mention of it drew both praise and fascination from locals, excited by the possibility of having a hospital to call their own.

            Work on the hospital began in 2013, after construction on Health Pavilion Hoke wrapped up. The project received a major boost after the USDA’s Rural Development Program approved nearly $60 million in low-interest loans. At the time, it was the largest loan package in the federal program’s history.

            Steve Steinbacher is a principal with Criterion Healthcare, the Concord-based occupancy management firm brought in to help build Health Pavilion Hoke and the hospital. He said more than 200 people worked on site during the height of the hospital’s construction.

            That equals to roughly 2.5 million man hours over the course of construction, Steinbacher said. “You could almost double that figure for construction of the entire Health Pavilion Hoke campus.”

            The resulting structures represent a combined $100 million investment into the county and will eventually create 350 new jobs. Cape Fear Valley held a job fair in October 2014, to help fill many of those positions. Even more jobs will be created when surrounding businesses catering to the medical campus begin popping up.

            The jobs will be welcome in a county recently impacted by economic job losses. But the hospital’s greatest impact will be how it provides locals greater access to healthcare.

            On March 9, 2015, years of hard work and anticipation came to an end when Cape Fear Valley Hoke Hospital officially opened its doors to the public. In the process, a third, and final, pledge from Cape Fear Valley’s CEO was delivered.

            We never doubted this hospital would become a reality, Nagowski said. “The people in this area need and deserve this facility. Now they’ll have it.”

Thoughtful Design

            Hoke Hospital boasts 41-licensed beds, spread out over two floors and more than 180,000 square feet of useable workspace. The combination easily makes it the county’s largest. But the square footage isn’t as important as the services it provides.

            The new hospital is the county’s only full-service facility. It has two operating rooms, four intensive care beds, and 16 beds in its Emergency Department. The numbers allow most patients to be treated on site, instead of being transferred elsewhere. Every second can count when seeking medical care.

            The first floor houses an Emergency Department, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, patient services, admissions and surgery. The second floor is home to cardiopulmonary services, physical and occupational therapy, a medical-surgical unit and a birthing center.

            The birthing center has four birthing suites, a dedicated C-section room and 16 post-partum recovery rooms to better serve the growing number of young families in the area.

            The rooms look more Holiday Inn than John Hopkins Hospital. Modern and airy design touches were used to create a warm and inviting feel, instead of cold and impersonal.

            The hospital’s patient rooms incorporate expansive windows to naturally illuminate the space. The walls are covered in muted Earth tones and pastels, while cherry-finished cabinetry reach from the floor to the ceiling. The rooms also have built-in Wi-Fi access and workspaces for tablets and laptops.

            Bathrooms have walk-in showers and textured porcelain tiles covering almost every inch of wall space. The restrooms are also wide enough for wheelchair-bound patients to easily maneuver inside.

            Functional design spills over into the rest of the hospital. Many of the clinical and work areas have motion detectors that automatically turn lights on and off. Double doorways are ultra-wide for easier entry for stretchers and beds. And most hallways are extremely well lit, thanks to generous overhead lighting and extensive use of glass walkways and windows.

            Just as much thought went into the design of individual departments. The Emergency Department employs a large, circular nurses station in the middle of the unit. The layout allows staff to easily see inside patient rooms, which are enclosed by sliding glass doors.

            Patients waiting for a test result or prescription can sit comfortably out of the way in one of the unit’s sub-waiting areas. This frees up exam rooms for other patients.

            Upstairs, the Physical and Occupational Therapy gymnasium incorporates a wide-open space. Most of the rehabilitation equipment is placed in the center, allowing for easier access by patients.

            Even the hospital cafeteria incorporates a good dose of design. Customers enter one way and walk in a circular pattern to retrieve utensils and food along the outer edge of the room. They then pay cashiers and find seating behind them in the center of the room.

            Customers can also sit outside under a concrete awning and enjoy the view of the adjoining courtyard. The awning is a nice design touch, naturally created by a corner of the upper floor.

            They did an amazing job with this hospital,” said Sheri Dahman, Hoke Hospital Director of Nursing.

            Roxie Wells, M.D., Hoke Hospital President, agreed.

            “The new hospital will be an asset to area residents for years to come,” she said.

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