HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Glittering new surgery suites and offices were on display Tuesday afternoon as Hannibal Regional Hospital and Hannibal Regional Medical Group unveiled the newest phase of a $61 million expansion project.
Hannibal Regional Healthcare System President and CEO Todd Ahrens said the four-story office building was completed in June, but it was important to move personnel and furnishings into the offices before doing a ribbon cutting and open house.
"In this phase of construction we did a lot of work on parking areas and some new space. We opened up some new surgery suites and some new patient rooms and of course a four-story office building," Ahrens said.
The next phase of work will involve upgrades to existing buildings and a new front entrance for the hospital.
Work should be completed by next summer.
Ahrens said the new surgery rooms are much larger that those built when the hospital opened in 1993.
"We've had a lot of advances in health care since the 1990s. We use more technology and a lot of times imaging is brought into those procedures. Smaller rooms make it harder" to bring the latest technology into a surgical room, Ahrens said.
Use of the newest technology is important for the hospital and the community.
"Patients hear about this new technology that's available and they want to have the latest and greatest technology," Ahrens said.
Having state-of-the-art equipment and practices also is important for new doctors, nurses and other care givers who are graduating from schools or being recruited from other parts of the nation or state.
A da Vinci robotic surgical device was one of the things people saw during Tuesday's open house. Using the device, surgeons can make much smaller incisions when doing surgery, reducing the physical trauma for patients and speeding their recovery. Video monitors help guide the surgeons, and the mechanical arms can handle incredibly intricate procedures.
"In our quest to continue providing exceptional health care to the residents of our community, Hannibal Regional is honored to provide the da Vinci Surgery system to our patients. The da Vinci helps provide shorter recovery time and less pain, getting them back to better and back to their daily lives faster," said Dr. Jennifer Roberts, medical director for the robotics program.
Wendy Harrington, president and CEO of Hannibal Regional Foundation said upgrades at the hospital help it meet the needs of patients from throughout the region.
"We want to expand and grow to better serve our community," Harrington said.
Hannibal Regional Healthcare System traces its roots to the opening of Levering Hospital in 1903. St. Elizabeth Hospital opened sometime around 1918. The two hospitals functioned independently until the 1980s when it became clear that a merger was in the best interest of the hospitals and the community. Operations continued in the old St. Elizabeth Hospital from 1988 until March 1993 when Hannibal Regional Hospital opened its campus west of Hannibal in March 1993.
The hospital now has offices in 11 communities, serving 12 counties, with 85 providers and 21 specialities and more than 1,200 employees.
Ahrens said the hospital used nonprofit bonding to finance about two-thirds of the $61 million construction program and tapped reserves for the remainder.
"We're on budget with our work," Ahrens said.