It’s lights out at the old hospital. Lights on at the new. Today, December 14, was moving day for doctors, nurses, staff, and patients of Milbank Area Hospital Avera and Avera Medical Group Milbank. They now will be housed together under one roof at the new healthcare campus.
Although the move was only a few blocks, it demanded precision planning and detailed execution. Mother Nature was not as cooperative as hoped as temperatures dipped to minus two degrees. Moving, however, continued as scheduled.
Dial-A-Move, a moving company from Aberdeen, arrived with a nine-man crew to ferry the bulk of the supplies and equipment. Hospital staff had prepared by packing everything into totes – over 1500 of them.
The bigger or bulkier items were moved individually- some items remained on storage shelves and were wrapped in heavy cellophane to keep things in place during the move. Once transported, staff unpacked and stocked new shelves.
“It really takes a coordinated and strategic plan to accomplish this move,” explained Dr. Nanci Van Peursem. “We left the ER room set up and fully stocked at the old hospital. As quickly as possible, the ER was set up at the new hospital before tearing down the one at the old hospital. We are prepared at all times for any emergency care needed during this transition.”
Van Peursem also explained the process required to move the electronic emergency room (eER) equipment. “We have three hard-wired eER units we use to immediately consult doctors in Sioux Falls. One unit remains at the old hospital and one will be set up at the new hospital. Both will remain operational, in case of an emergency. Once everything is in place at the new hospital, the other units will be moved.” Technicians from Avera in Sioux Falls were in Milbank today to streamline the process of moving the eER units. They also helped move the portable eICU unit and two telemedicine units, one for the hospital and one for the clinic. These are also used to consult doctors.
Patient rooms were set up this morning in preparation for the hospital’s patients. The patients were transported by ambulance early this afternoon.
Patient files and charts from the hospital and clinic are electronic. “It’s just a matter of moving the computer equipment and getting it set up again,” clinic administrator Patti Swenson said. “We have some paper charts we are required to keep. Those were moved over and filed in a storage room.”
“Dr. Bess said it best,” said Dr. Van Peursem. “He said the word for the day, or the next few days, is adaptable. We will be adaptable and do the best we can during this transition to take care of our patients.”
Moving continued throughout the day. Finally, the lights were turned off and the doors were closed at the old building. A sign on the door remained. The hospital had moved.
Important Clinic Hours
Tomorrow, Thursday, December 15, the clinic will be open its regular hours in the morning, but will close at noon to begin its move. It will remain closed through Friday, but will re-open Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon at the new facility for its urgent care clinic hours.
“Our phones and staff will continue to take calls and schedule appointments during the time we are closed this week,” stated clinic administrator Patti Swenson. “We will have two doctors present Saturday during our urgent care clinic to accommodate patients who were unable to be seen Thursday and Friday.”
According to hospital administrator, Natalie Gauer, the new facility, both the hospital and clinic, will be fully functional by Monday, December 19.