May 22, 2023 |

Photo – North Platte Valley Medical Center – Bigfoot99 file photo

Jeff Mincy, CEO of the North Platte Valley Medical Center, spoke with Bigfoot99 about the hospital’s first week of operation.

After four years of planning and two years of construction, Saratoga’s new hospital is open for business, said Mincy. The Chief Operating Officer said many people anticipated the hospital’s opening last Monday.

The Platte Valley Clinic moved from the Corbett Medical Building, on South River Street, into the hospital following Monday’s opening. Mincy said clinic staff saw more patients on Monday than they had the entire previous month. The hospital CEO said the large number of patients has given the hospital staff a chance to practice with the equipment.

Mincy said the hospital had enough staff to open on Monday, but more qualified employees are needed. The hospital CEO said he still has openings available in several departments.

Finding housing for the influx of hospital staff has been a challenge. Mincy said as the weather warms up, a greater number of homes are being listed.

Mincy said the number of short-term rentals in town makes purchasing a home difficult. He said some staff have been forced to stay at hotels in Rawlins because so few houses are available in Saratoga.

While the hospital is open for scheduled exams, the emergency room has yet to begin operation. Mincy said government bureaucracy delayed the arrival of necessary medication. The hospital CEO said without the intervention of Congresswoman Harriet Hageman and Senator Cynthia Lummis the hospital would have had to wait longer. Mincy said he hopes the ER will open by the end of the month.

The North Platte Valley Medical Center will be the new home for elderly folks from the Saratoga Senior Center. The hospital was specifically designed to accommodate the senior citizens.

Mincy said the seniors haven’t moved into the facility yet, but they’ve seen their rooms. The hospital CEO said many of the older people are eager to move.

Being a brand-new construction, the North Platte Valley Medical Center is bound to have its share of unforeseen structural flaws. Mincy said the hospital has some issues that need to be addressed. The hospital CEO said the building’s contractor and engineer will be on site this week to fix some of the problems staff have identified.

One of the most highly touted features of the new hospital is called PACS, or Picture Achieving and Communication System. PACS allows medical providers to share digital test images remotely with specialists in other parts of the country. Mincy said the speed at which patients get back their test results far exceeds federal requirements.

Mincy said the hospital has a dedicated fiber optic internet connection. He said high-speed links are necessary to transmit medical images like CT scans, which can easily exceed 30 gigabytes.

May 12th‘s ribbon cutting ceremony was the culmination of years of hard work and frustration. Mincy said construction went smoothly at first. As the county slipped deeper into COVID hysteria, Mincy said required equipment became harder to obtain.

The Platte Valley Clinic is fully operational within the hospital. Mincy said, if everything goes as planned, the emergency room and senior center will open on May 30th.

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