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RANGELY I Rangely District Hospital staff began providing some services at its new facility Saturday afternoon after the building passed a final inspection and received its certificate of occupancy Friday.
Hospital staff transferred long-term care patients and inpatients to their rooms around noon on Saturday, while the emergency room and most ancillary services opened around 2:30 p.m., RDH Chief Executive Officer Nick Goshe said.
“The movers got here Friday morning and we knocked out everything by Saturday afternoon,” Goshe said. “Some people started moving offices sometime before the grand opening, so that was a big help… There might’ve been a few employees who had something they wanted to be doing, but for the most part, everybody was like, ‘When are we moving?’ and they wanted to be there.”
Rangely Family Medicine, the pharmacy and the physical therapy department opened Monday morning. Dentist Ken Myers’ office will open on Monday, Jan. 14.
A series of 14 inspections finally resulted in last week’s certificate of occupancy.
“(The inspector) had a couple of minor things he wanted us to do and we got them taken care of,” Goshe said. “During his visit on Dec. 19, he told us to plan for our move, so we went ahead and scheduled everything for Jan. 7 as planned.”
Last weekend’s move wasn’t easy for all of the long-term care patients, some of whom wanted more control over their rooms’ heat or disliked the transition to the new facility.
“For some of the patients, the move itself was disruptive and took a little bit of extra working with them,” Goshe said. “I think most of it was just the fact that we have to put boxes away and get set up in a new place.”
ER department manager and registered nurse Sharma Vaughn said that staff members were able to keep their focus on what was really important during the move.
“The nursing department took it all in stride,” Vaughn said. “They’re kind of accustomed to working in the middle of chaos and thinking through all of that… Looking back (on the move), it was stressful. But nothing ever fell through where we felt like our patient care would be compromised. That’s the golden standard. For me, that’s a really cool thing to be able to say because the community’s the one that made all of this possible for us.”
Challenges heading into the opening included phone system issues and CenturyLink’s difficulty getting external emails to employees, Goshe said.
Come Monday morning, another unexpected issue was parking.
“We have enough parking for standard days, but we have to remember we have a lot of snow,” Goshe said. “Lines are covered, so people naturally leave more space.”
Additional spaces taken by hospital employees, equipment servicers, contractors and visitors made for tight parking despite the 140 available spots.
“It felt crazy, but it wouldn’t matter even if everything was perfect. It still would be crazy with all the people just coming in to see,” Goshe said. “Overall, if the worst thing I deal with is not having enough parking spots on opening day, I can live with that.”
Rangely resident Gail Palmer had an appointment at Rangely Family Medicine Monday afternoon. She hadn’t seen the new facility since touring it during construction a couple of months ago.
Her initial response, like others negotiating the building for the first time, was mixed.
“It’s a beautiful building, but I didn’t have a welcome feeling when I walked in because everybody is behind closed doors,” Palmer said. “They know it needs to be private, but if you can’t see through the doors, you can’t see if somebody’s in there. So the whole privacy thing kind of goes out the window when you have to open the doors to find out.”
Palmer also took a wrong turn in a clinic hallway after getting confused by signage and didn’t care for the building’s color scheme. Still, she recognized that getting used to the new building would take time—for everyone.
“I’m sure they’re going to iron out lots of bugs in the process,” Palmer said. “There were mixed reviews in the clinic—some people were happy and some were grumbling. Everything’s different now, so it’s understandable. People will get used to the changes.”