A decade into new facility, Parkview execs still like the fit

Rick Baker (left), chairman of the Parkview Huntington Hospital board of directors, and Darlene Garrett, chief operating officer of Parkview Huntington Hospital, stand in front of the 10-year-old Parkview Huntington Hospital building on Stults Road.
Rick Baker (left), chairman of the Parkview Huntington Hospital board of directors, and Darlene Garrett, chief operating officer of Parkview Huntington Hospital, stand in front of the 10-year-old Parkview Huntington Hospital building on Stults Road. Photo provided.

A decade into its new facility, Parkview Huntington Hospital is finding that it's still a good fit.

"We are thrilled with where we are," says Darlene Garrett, chief operating officer of Parkview Huntington Hospital.

Garrett and Rick Baker, chairman of the hospital's board of directors, used the occasion of the hospital's 10th anniversary in its Stults Road building to reflect on the physical structure itself as well as the service the hospital's staff provides to its community - and to ponder PHH's future.

"Our strategic goal in the next couple of years is growth in patient volume and in market share," Baker says.

Parkview Huntington is well on its way to meeting that goal.

The family birthing center has grown, especially after the hospital in Wabash discontinued its obstetrics services; outpatient surgery is up and general surgery is growing; the diagnostic area has grown significantly; the emergency department is seeing more patients; rehabilitation services have grown, especially with the addition of water therapy offered at the adjacent Parkview Huntington Family YMCA; and the use of behavioral health services has increased substantially, Garrett and Baker say.

Since 2000, outpatient surgery cases have increased by 121 percent. Diagnostic imaging procedures for inpatients have increased 74 percent. The use of the emergency department is up 35 percent.

Patients' needs are changing, Garrett notes.

"The people we serve are not as sick," she says.
Machines used in the diagnostics areas have all been enhanced or replaced within the last five years, Baker notes, making it possible for the PHH staff to offer more sophisticated tests.

"We were able to do it before, but not to the level we can do it today," he says of the testing PHH now offers on site.

PHH has also added telemedicine, which allows doctors to receive additional monitoring of their patients by experts in the field, Garrett says. And PHH now has hospitalists on its staff - doctors who specialize in rendering care in a hospital setting.

One vision of 10 years ago - the addition of freestanding oncology and radiology units - has not come to fruition.

"As health care has changed, physicians want to stay closer to their home offices," Garrett notes. "That just hasn't happened."

The hospital campus, however, does now encompass The Heritage of Huntington, a long-term care facility, and the Parkview Huntington YMCA.

The 10-year-old building continues to serve the hospital well, Garrett says, and the original plans have proved flexible enough to accommodate the changes in the medical field and changing needs over the past decade.

"We've been able to use the original building, the footprint of that building, and tweak the inside," Garrett says.

"Externally, visually, it's beautiful," Baker says of the building.

Just three years after moving in to the new building, PHH expanded the inpatient area, adding 12 beds to increase its capacity to 36 patients. More recently, the patient registration area, diagnostics waiting area and surgery waiting area have been revamped to afford more privacy to those using those areas.

There are no immediate plans for additional expansion, Garrett says, and probably won't be in the future, either - structurally, the building wouldn't support a second story; and there's no land available to spread out.

The hospital staff is now working to provide a continuum of care to the Huntington community.

"Our goal is continuous care," says Baker. "We try to make that care as seamless as we possibly can."

Baker cites the Parkview Physicians' Group, made up of family physicians and specialists who operate under the Parkview Health umbrella, as part of that care. Communication and treatment is easier when the physicians and the hospitals are on the same page, he says.

New monitoring equipment can provide a higher level of care, which enables patients to be cared for longer in their home community.

One of Parkview Huntington's major draws in its community is convenience, Garrett says.

"We are that first stop," she says. "And we want to be that first stop."

"If we can take care of their needs here, why make that drive up the road?" Baker adds.