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Patterson-Inspired Health Center Opens With Aim To Reshape Rural Care

Kahler Slater’s team of Medical Planning Consultants, in partnership with architect of record Gould Evans, has designed the newly completed Patterson Health Center in rural Harper County, Kansas. The 62,500-square-foot facility unites two formerly separate critical access hospitals under one distinctive roof that pays homage to neighboring communities coming together.

The design of Patterson Health Center responds to the county’s need for a new, cost-effective and resilient model of rural healthcare that promotes a community of wellness. Despite being deemed crucial to a community’s health and financial success, 20% of existing rural American hospitals have been identified as at-risk of closure due to the economic stresses of population decline, outdated facilities, and shrinking healthcare reimbursements. In response to these challenges, the design team led stakeholders through a hands-on, interactive virtual reality process to co-create a space that embodies efficiency, flexibility, and healing.

“This building saves our rural community from potentially losing a hospital or two. The unique merging of two critical access hospitals into one efficient, well-organized, patient-centered facility could become a national model. It provides resiliency against the constantly shrinking resources we’re seeing nationwide,” said Pat Patton, CEO, Patterson Health Center.

The project is significantly funded and inspired by the Patterson Family Foundation, created by the late Neal Patterson, a Harper County native and co-founder and former CEO of Cerner.

The hospital design is inspired by the joining of two communities, Harper and Anthony, KS. It is deliberately sited between the towns and adjacent to their shared Chaparral High School.

The center provides access to education, prevention, and long-term wellness by combining a health clinic with various spaces traditionally associated with a community center — an indoor/outdoor café and a large greenspace for health fairs, farmers’ markets, and fitness events. The adjacent high school will soon offer a health-centered curriculum with introductory heathcare job training programs, sports medicine classes, and wellness programs to improve teenage health.

“It is intentionally called a health center, not a hospital,” said Martha Hadsall, Board Chair, Patterson Health Center. “The building offers tons of natural light, beautiful views of the prairie, and access to new and expanded services — truly a place for our communities to gather and lead the transformation of rural healthcare.”

Operational innovations of the new facility include:

  • An inpatient care unit with 10 large, private bedrooms where a family member can stay overnight. The remaining three semi-private rooms will be licensed as patient beds for peaks in census and will also be used for multiple procedures, such as outpatient infusions and same-day surgery prep/recovery beds. The nurse stations for the inpatient unit and the four-room ED are interconnected to efficiently operate the two services and allow staff to easily flow between the two services.
  • A 22-exam-room clinic connected to the critical access hospital, which features an Integrated Care Team clinic delivery model to provide the greatest flexibility in response to the changing healthcare landscape. This model brings patient rooms, staff working areas, and service provider offices together in one place. It creates a centralized, “off-stage” space that allows staff to collaborate and move efficiently, ultimately enhancing care coordination and the patient experience.
  • An 18-equipment-station outpatient rehabilitation gym with several private treatment rooms and an in-ground hydrotherapy pool will provide physical, occupational, and cardiopulmonary therapies for outpatients. A separate fitness center is available for staff members.
  • A new cafe offering locally grown produce and healthy menu options offers indoor and outdoor dining options. It hopes to serve not only patients, staff, and visitors to the health center, but also provide another dining opportunity to the public.

The health center is rich in new healthcare technologies to improve workflow and efficiency, including electronic outpatient registration, digital patient tracking, telemedicine capabilities for clinic and trauma patients, automated medication dispensing units, and contemporary surgical and diagnostic imaging equipment.

Future campus plans include a fitness center, community center, community gardens, and a trail system. The project is a collaboration between Gould Evans, Kahler Slater, McCownGordon Construction, Grand Construction, and Hospital Districts #5 and 6 of Harper County, Kansas.

A grand opening ceremony for the Patterson Health Center was held on July 19, 2019.

Additional press:

Kansas City Business Journal

RE Journals

HC+O News